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HomeIndiaUttarakhand's Untimely Rains Drench Hydropower Hopes, Sparking Summer Power Crisis Concerns

Uttarakhand’s Untimely Rains Drench Hydropower Hopes, Sparking Summer Power Crisis Concerns

Dehradun (News Trust of India) : In Uttarakhand, unexpected rainfall has raised concerns about the effectiveness of hydropower dams, resulting in a decrease in electricity production. Uttarkashi is dealing with the consequences of insufficient rainfall, which has led to a significant decrease in water flow from tributaries and important sources like the Bhagirathi River. This decreasing water flow is likely to have a direct impact on power output, affecting small hydro projects such as the Maneri Bhali Hydro Power Project.

The lack of rainfall this season has caused a significant reduction in water flow from the Bhagirathi River. In the past, the area experienced a movement of more than 35 cubic meters per second during this time, but the present situation shows a decrease to 28 cubic meters per second. This deficiency has hindered the required release of 34 to 35 cubic meters per second essential for turbine functioning. As a result, the Tiloth power station, which is part of the first stage of the Maneri Bhali project and has a capacity of around 100 megawatts, is currently producing only one million units of electricity per day. This is a significant decrease compared to the prior output.

The Dharasu power station, key to the 304 MW second phase project, confronts a similar dilemma with insufficient water for turbine performance. Consequently, the hydropower firm can only sustain two turbines for 8 to 10 hours within a 24-hour cycle, relying on the reservoir at Joshyada Barrage for water. This restricted operation produces 1.5 million units of power, a notable decrease from the previous 7 million units.

The decrease in hydroelectric project production is not limited to specific projects, as seen by the reduced output at the Gangnani Small Hydro Power Project and Badiyad Garh Small Hydro Power Project in Badkot tehsil. The Gangnani project, which has a capacity of 8 MW, and the Badiyad Garh project, which has a capacity of 5 MW, are now generating just 2 MW and 1 MW, respectively. This decline in production, if not remedied swiftly by rain or snowfall, might exacerbate the looming summer power problem.

Vimal Dabral, the Public Relations Officer for UJVNL in Dehradun, emphasized the severe impact of lower Bhagirathi river water discharge on power generation. The subsequent fall in electricity generation from hydropower projects in recent years is a matter for concern, as indicated by the following statistics:

54.3 million units in 2019-20
50.1 million units in 2020-21
58.5 million units in 2021-22
46.6 million units in 2022-23
43.5 million units in 2023-24
This persistent fall underlines the significance of tackling the issues faced by weather-induced changes in water supply for hydropower plants in Uttarakhand.