Delayed rains have resulted in power shortages across east Africa as falling water levels prompt hydro plant operators to curtail generation or even consider shutting plant down.

An electricity shortage has gripped Tanzania as water levels at the Mtera dam falls, affecting power supplies in most parts of Dar es Salaam. With a minimum full capacity operating level of 690 m, the level has reportedly dropped had dropped to 688.4 m recently, leaving the 80 MW facility generating as little as 34 MW. The lowest possible level permitted by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals is 688 m.

Northern neighbour Kenya is also facing power shortages with the water level at Masiga Dam in the southeastern of the country down by a significant quantity to around 14 m above the minimum operational level, although the Kenya Electricity Generating Company has reassured consumers that supplies will remain adequate until March when the rainy season is due.

The Masiga Dam is the main reservoir for seven major hydro-power stations that contribute more than 50% of Kenyan capacity.

In Uganda to the west, the government is considering shutting down one of the hydro stations in Jinja to maintain the water level of Lake Victoria. Referring to the water shortage, water minister Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire said: “This has drastically affected the power generation at Kiira and Nalubale dams.” Otafiire added: “We do not want to get to the level of having no water in the lake to run even one dam, such that we have no power at all. Something has to be done.”