Bakun HEP mitigates flooding along Rejang River by controlling upstream water inflow

By Freddy Bohari
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KUCHING: The 2,400MW Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) plays a major role in mitigating the severity of flooding along the Rejang River, especially downstream.

It balances the water level at the reservoir upstream with the water level downstream, especially during periods of heavy rainfall, by releasing water at a controlled minimal level from the Bakun spillway.

When it was raining heavily at the upstream and downstream areas recently, the Bakun HEP held back a large volume of rain water, which greatly reduced and mitigated the impact of flooding 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.

Sarawak Energy Bhd has a dedicated team that vigilantly monitors water levels at the Bakun reservoir and downstream rivers on a daily basis.

The water level at Murum HEP, which is also located upstream, is also monitored daily by the team.

The team works closely with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Sarawak to control the volume of water released from the Bakun HEP spillway according to the water level further downstream to ensure the safety of the Punan Ba community.

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

According to SEB’s statement yesterday, this controlled procedure is conducted on a seasonal basis after consulting local councils and stakeholders, and the communities staying at the immediate vicinities and along the Rejang River are notified at least two days ahead of any scheduled release.

Controlled release of water inflow from dams is a standard practice for hydropower operators worldwide and it has been undertaken by the operator of Bakun HEP since it was commissioned in 2010. – TVS

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