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Mpanga Power Dam Operating Below Capacity As Degradation Takes Toll on River

Charles Mugisha, the manager of Saem Engineering Company Limited that is currently running the hydro project, says human activities along the river banks like farming have led to silting and reduction in the water levels which has, in turn, led to a reduction in power generation.
Due to human activities along the banks of River Mpanga, the water levels and speed have reduced leading to low electiricty output.

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The degradation of River Mpanga in Kitagwenda district is heavily affecting power generation at Mpanga Hydroelectric power station. The river flows from the Rwenzori Mountains, into Lake George, through the districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Kamwenge.

The 18.0 MW power station was developed by Africa Energy Management Systems and construction began in 2007 at 30 Billion Shillings.  It is linked to the national grid line through the main power station at Rugonjo in Kahunge town council, Kamwenge district. 

At the time of commissioning, the power station was producing 18 Megawatts of electricity but they have since reduced to 12 megawatts.

Charles Mugisha, the manager of Saem Engineering Company Limited that is currently running the hydro project, says human activities along the river banks like farming have led to silting and reduction in the water levels which has, in turn, led to a reduction in power generation.

Mugisha says that the dam is operating way below its capacity with little water for the facility to generate power.

Cue in: “Human activity makes…

Cue out… the buffer zone.”//

Francis Hategyeka, the Kanara Sub county LC III chairperson says they have discovered that  farmers from the villages of Kabeza, Rweshama II, Nyakabungo, Kanara II, Kerere

and Rwemirama is the ones who are encroaching on the river banks leading to a reduction in the speed and level of the water.     

He adds that efforts by sub-county leaders are underway to stop people from degrading the river. 

Cue in: “Omugyera gwa Mpanga…

Cue out… obwire bwokuba barugyireyo.”//

James Bacha, a resident of Nyakabungo, one of the people who cultivate near the river banks, says they need compensation before relocating because the land belongs to them. 

Anthony Kalyegira the Kitagwenda District Natural Resources officer says the degradation of the river has led to an intermittent power supply to areas Ntara Sub-county and Bukurungo Town council.

He adds that as district leaders, they are going to sensitize the people on the effect of degradation and those that fail to comply will be prosecuted.  

Over the past fifteen years, River Mpanga's flow and quality have been severely affected by human activity. Encroachment, sand and stone extraction, poor agricultural practices; and pollution have taken their toll and reduced its flow.  The pollution of the river has also affected the quality of water supplied to Fort Portal residents.

Last year, the King of Tooro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, launched the “Save River Mpanga Now” campaign that is aimed at conserving the water body. The local communities and several Non-Governmental Organizations-NGOs have also joined hands to halt the devastation of the river.