Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir has urged people living downstream along river Tana to exercise caution due the surging levels of the seven forks dams upstream.
While speaking in Kiambere dam during his visit to the dams the CS said the water inflow within is fast rising thus anticipating an impact in coming days.
The Cabinet Secretary said currently Kamburu dam which has 1005.82 against the maximum capacity of 1006.50 metres above sea level is close to spilling something considered to mount pressure on the other dams on the same line.
He said the dam will overflow along the spillway anytime from this weekend or early next week should the rains keep the pace.
“We, therefore, call on those living downstream to be on high alert and exercise caution and further urge those close to the river to consider moving to safer grounds to avert loss of life and minimize destruction of property,” said CS Energy and Petroleum Davis Chirchir.
Kamburu dam is one of the five dams along river Tana and which also receives water from Thiba river.
He further, noted the Masinga dam which is the largest dam in Kenya is still below spilling levels but reiterated with continuous rainfall of 0.7 cubic metres daily it would take it ten days.
He said this would further call for extreme management to prevent water from destroying property downstream.
“As for Masinga, which is Kenya’s largest dam, the levels are still low despite the ongoing rains. According to KenGen’s daily dispatch reports, Masinga is at 1,047.51 meters above sea level (mASL), against a maximum level of 1,056mASL. This means that we still have some headroom of about nine meters to reach maximum capacity for Masinga”, said Chirchir.
On the flip side, the CS said the ongoing rains will contribute to reduced cost of electricity in Kenya due to reduced cost of production.
Chirchir said the continued increase in water levels will increase the hydropower production thus leading to reduced cost of power in the coming days.
“The good news is, that the surge in hydropower is expected to play a crucial role in stabilizing the cost of electricity, providing a buffer against the volatility of fuel prices on the international market,” he added.
Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir was accompanied by his Principal Secretary Alex Wachira, Garissa Township MP Dekow Barrow and Managing Director KenGen Engineer Peter Njenga.
On his side Peter Njenga the Managing Director KenGen said, despite the dams use in power production it’s mainly relied to prevent floods downstream since it holds 46 percent of the water flowing from River Tana.
He said the dams also play a major role in improving the livelihoods of the people through providing irrigation water.
“This goes to demonstrate that even as we use the dams to generate electricity, one of their biggest benefits is that they help to hold water hence reducing the effects of heavy rains on communities downstream.
Masinga and Kiambere, on the other hand, are multipurpose dams that are also used for irrigation farming and helping to improve the livelihoods of the people of this region,” said Njenga.
Further, Njenga said they’re maximising the power generation to ensure they provide a relief to Kenyans by providing cheaper electricity in the coming days.
This comes as the country continue to experience heavy rains with atleast 90 people feared dead and over 150,000 displaced as a results of the Elnino Phenomenon.
Eastern region is among the most affected regions with Makueni suffering an incident of seven people feared dead over drowning on the process on Friday.