Bakun HEP holding back upstream water inflow

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KUCHING: Sarawak Energy’s (SEB’s) Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) is holding back upstream water inflow to minimise the impact of seasonal rainfall on downstream communities.

SEB, in its press release, said the plant played a major role in mitigating the severity of flooding downstream of the Rajang River by balancing both upstream reservoir and downstream water levels, especially during periods of heavy rainfall.

“With the recent heavy rainfall at upstream and downstream areas, Bakun HEP has been holding back a large volume of rainwater, greatly reducing and mitigating the impact of downstream flooding situations in Kanowit and Sibu.

“The current high water level situation downstream is due to a combination of prevailing conditions including heavy rainfall downstream of the Bakun HEP and the king tide,” it said yesterday (Oct 5).

It said a dedicated team had been tasked to vigilantly monitor water levels of Murum HEP, located upstream as well as the water levels at the Bakun reservoir and downstream rivers on a daily basis.

It added that the team was also working closely with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage to reduce release volume from its Bakun spillway according to downstream water levels to ensure the safety of its downstream Punan Ba community.

“The current seasonal release of water through the Bakun HEP spillway commenced on September 8, 2021 and is scheduled to last for five weeks until the water level in the reservoir normalises.

“This controlled procedure is conducted on a seasonal basis after consulting local councils and stakeholders, with the communities notified at least two days ahead of the scheduled release.

“Controlled release is a standard practice for hydropower operators worldwide and has been undertaken by the operator of Bakun since it was commissioned in 2010,” it explained.

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