WATER LEVELS AND THE ENERGY SITUATION

How dwindling water levels are affecting electricity generation in Malawi

AN UPDATE ON THE CURRENT WATER LEVELS AND THE ENERGY SITUATION IN MALAWI

Over 95% of Malawi’s electricity is generated from hydro with Shire River as the main source of the hydro-electricity. Shire River’s main source is Lake Malawi.

Electricity generation has been reduced by up to 40% due to dwindling water levels.

Low water levels

Lake Malawi water levels and Shire River water flows have dropped as a result of low rainfalls in the past two rainy seasons. The low rainfalls have meant that Lake Malawi is unable to support the normal flow of the Shire River. Further to this, tributaries of the Shire River are also experiencing low water flows with some already drying up early in the dry season.

Effect of reduced water levels on electricity generation

The reduction in water levels in Lake Malawi and water flows in the Shire River has greatly impacted the electricity generation capacity as low flow of the Shire River means a reduction in water available for power generation at our power stations. Therefore, instead of generating a maximum capacity of 351MW, ESCOM is generating an average of 200MW, leaving a capacity shortfall of 150MW. This has resulted in increased load shedding periods. The situation is expected to worsen within the year with the generation capacity reducing by 67% due to further dropping of water levels in Lake Malawi.

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SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM INTERVENTIONS