Eskom Uganda, the company that runs both Nalubale [former Owen Falls] and Kiira power dams in Jinja, has finalized major repairs on the 60 year old plant.
The South African-based Eskom today Thursday, successfully carried out tests on the sluice gates of the old Nalubale Power Station.
The Gates had not been in operation for last 17 years, and this greatly hampered flood control and emergency preparedness at the plant.
The gates were “involuntarily decommissioned” after the adjacent Kiira dam was opened in 1999, which diverted most of the water that was previously being spilled.
Before Kiira dam came on board, there were reported lots of ‘misting’ and ‘water showers’ along the bridge.
According to Eskom Corporate Affairs Manager Simon Kasyate, the company embarked on months of repairs of the gates, which ended in today’s testing exercise.
The event was witnessed by the board and management of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited [UEGCL] as well as officials from Ministry of Water and Environment.
The two dams were designed in a way that during any flood emergency, the Kiira floodways which are more flexible are supposed to be engaged first, followed by the Nalubale sluice gates to provide a second option.
“The Nalubale sluice gates being out of operation bothered us, that we had to commission the exhaustive and extensive repairs on the gates,” said Mr Kasyate.
Eskom Managing Director Mrs Nokwanda Mngeni described today’s exercise as a huge milestone.
“It was always a point of discussion with stakeholders. We decided to do the right thing and ensure safety of the dam and our neighbors by rehabilitating the gates,” she said.
The gates will be operated once in a year, to ensure that they are functional in case they are needed, when floods hit.