Low water hinders Kayah hydropower plants

A Kayah sluice gate. (Photo-Ma Khaing/EMG)

Water levels supplying the Baluchaung hydropower plants in Lawpita, Loikaw Township, Kayah State, have been declining for a month.

Myint Maung, a farmer near no.1 Lawpita power plant, said: “We monitor water flows. Meteorologist Dr Tun Lwin has warned that Myanmar would experience the effects of EI Nino. Water sources normally decline in March and April. But we have noticed water declining since November. The water level is falling at the Dawtachar sluice gate about two miles from Loikaw. Residents will suffer if there is insufficient water. It is evident that the country faces environmental degradation.”

Waterfalls downriver of Baluchaung had declined and reservoirs supplying the plant had run dry, plant staff said.

A No.2 power plant employee said: “I have been working here since its establishment. Water ran out eight years ago. This is the second time. The water indicator tells us. Lack of water makes it difficult for us to generate sufficient power. We might face difficulties.”

There are three hydropower plants in Loikaw. The first was built in 1954 by Japan as war reparation and distributes power to Yangon and Mandalay. The no.1 plant was built in 1987. The government buys power from the Future Energy Company which built the no.3 plant in 2008. They generate about 248 megawatts in total.