Tanzania has started rationing electricity because of a drop in hydropower generation due to drought, the national provider said Wednesday. Some areas will suffer nine-hour outages as a result of the rationing. The move comes as the country struggles to cope with a severe drought that has left millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
Tanzania is a country located in East Africa with the capacity to generate nearly 1,695 megawatts of power through hydropower, natural gas, and other means. The nation is home to a variety of different landscapes and ecosystems, including the Serengeti Plains, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Indian Ocean. Tanzania is also home to a large number of different animals, including lions, elephants, and giraffes.
Tanesco is currently facing a shortage of between 300 and 350 megawatts, managing director Maharage Chande said. The company is working to increase its power generation capacity, but the current shortage is putting a strain on the system. Tanesco is asking customers to conserve power where possible to help ease the load on the system.
“There are two major reasons which have caused the shortages in generation: prolonged drought and ongoing maintenance in some of our plants,” Chande told reporters in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.
The hydropower plants that have been most affected by the water shortages in Tanzania are those in the southeast Morogoro region, where the Kihansi plant has seen its capacity drop from 180 megawatts to just 17 megawatts.
According to Chande, the reason for this is that water levels in most of the sources used by these plants have decreased, forcing them to generate below their capacity. This has had a significant impact on the country’s electricity supply, and has resulted in blackouts and other disruptions.
The government of Tanzania is actively working to increase its hydropower capacity, including through the construction of the Julius Nyerere dam project in the Selous Game Reserve. The dam is expected to produce 2,100 megawatts of power once it is operational, which would be a significant increase to the country’s current power production.
The project has been controversial, however, due to its location in the Selous Game Reserve, which is home to a variety of wildlife. Critics worry that the dam could disrupt the delicate ecosystem of the reserve.
Tanzania, like its East African neighbours, has been experiencing poor rainfall and delayed monsoons. This has led to the authorities imposing water rationing in Dar es Salaam last month, as water levels have fallen due to the drought. This has had a knock-on effect on businesses and households, as well as on the city’s infrastructure.
In addition to water rationing, the city authorities have also implemented other measures to try and alleviate the situation, such as repairing leaky pipes and encouraging residents to use water wisely. However, with the rains still not showing any sign of arriving, it is clear that the drought is continuing to have a major impact on Tanzania’s capital city.
The effects of the ongoing drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are becoming increasingly severe, with four failed rainy seasons having wiped out livestock and crops. The situation is being further exacerbated by rising temperatures and a lack of access to clean water. This has led to widespread malnutrition and a marked increase in the number of people fleeing their homes in search of aid.
The United Nations has declared the drought a humanitarian crisis, and is appealing for international assistance to help those affected. However, with so many people in need, the challenge is huge. In Kenya alone, it is estimated that 3.5 million people are facing severe food insecurity, and the situation is likely to worsen in the coming months.