KenGen Plans To Raise Masinga Dam By 1.5 Meters To Contain Overflow

KenGen has recently unveiled a strategic initiative to elevate the Masinga Dam’s wall by 1.5 meters, a move aimed at mitigating water overflow and enhancing its capacity to accommodate increased water levels during periods of heavy rainfall.

By May 2020, the water level at the dam had soared to 1,058.22 meters, surpassing its designated holding capacity of 1,058.13 meters. Peter Njenga, the Managing Director and CEO of KenGen, attributes this surge to a substantial influx of water into the dam, averaging over 850 m3 per second in the preceding week. This surge is predominantly fueled by intense rainfall within the dam’s catchment area.

Njenga further highlights that all major hydropower dams within the Seven Forks system have reached optimal supply levels, collectively storing more than 2.6 billion cubic meters of water. This significant reservoir capacity stands in stark contrast to the estimated total flow from the River Tana, pegged at five billion cubic meters.

Among the dams within the Seven Forks cascade are Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma, and Kiambere. Njenga emphasizes that these dams play a pivotal role in managing the bulk of water emanating from the River Tana, which would otherwise inundate downstream areas, thereby mitigating the potential damage wrought by incessant rainfall.

Anticipating the likelihood of Masinga Dam reaching its full capacity and overflowing by April 2024, KenGen issued preemptive warnings to communities residing near the dams and adjacent rivers. These advisories aimed to encourage relocation to higher ground, thereby minimizing the risk of loss of life and property.