Kishenganga: India may face 5% power prodn shortfall annually

New Delhi: India is likely to suffer a marginal shortfall in power production from the upcoming Kishenganga hydro-electric project in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the International Court of Arbitration’s verdict to release fixed quantity of water to Pakistan.

The Hague-based Court had decided in December last year that India should release a minimum flow of nine cumecs (cubic metres per second) into Kishenganga river (known as Neelum river in Pakistan) for environmental reasons.

“This would affect power generation by five per cent annually,” a source in the Ministry of Water Resources told PTI.

The project is designed to generate power by diverting water from a dam site on Kishenganga river to the Bonar Nallah, a tributary of Jhelum river, through a system of tunnels, with the water powering turbines having a capacity of 330 MW.

According to sources, releasing nine cumecs of water, as per orders, may come in the way of diverting water for generating power during the four “lean months”, where water flow dips to a low.

While water flow is 1000 cumces during flood seasons and adequate from March to September, it falls to less than 30 cumces between November and February.

Water flow in these four months varies from 30 cumecs to four cumecs. With the court’s direction, India cannot divert water for power production on days when the water flow drops to less than nine cumecs, the sources said.

In turn, this would hit the production of 330 MW, with the losses estimated to be five per cent in a year.

In a major relief for India last year, the ICA rejected Pakistan’s objections and upheld New Delhi’s right to divert water from the Kishenganga river for power generation in Jammu and Kashmir.