Authorities in Jinja have opened spill gates to control rising water levels at Kiira and Nalubale dams.

The exercise, which commenced on February 28, involves releasing water from the lake.

The operations manager for Eskom Uganda Ltd (EUL), Mr Peter Tentena, on Sunday said the directorate of water resources and management in the Ministry of Water and Environment permitted them to spill the water at the dams.

Mr Tentena said they started the exercise at Nalubaale dam (old dam) but they were further authorised to do the same at Kiira dam.

“The main objective is to control water levels which has been rising. We shall spill the water for about seven days as we study the impact on the lake and people,” he said.

Mr Tentena said their target is to release 256 cubic metres of water per second.

“Since we started the exercise, we have been releasing 156 cubic metres of water. Average flow is about 256 cubic metres per second,” he said.

Data from EUL indicates that each of the three spill way gates at Kiira dam is able to release 500 cubic metres per second at maximum.

Mr Tentena said the increasing water levels is usually driven by rainfall received in the lake.

The managing director of EUL, Ms Thozama Gangi, said the spill gates were designed to control flooding.

“Currently, there is no threat to the plant. When water levels are increasing, we can open them so that we make sure operations continue because we don’t want water to go above the dam,” she said. Ms Thozama said the same incident happened 50 years ago.

The acting board chairperson of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd, Dr Peter Kimbowa, said the process will not affect residents and other activities.

“There are ways to treat that overflow without causing any problem to the generation system, generation output, environment, and the eco-system,” he said.

According to the press statement from EUL, water levels in the lake have been rising since October 2019.