English | Dzongkha Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Debris along Wangchu impedes Chhukha hydropower generation


Aug 21, 2014

  CHPA-Waste-Every monsoon, the Chhukha hydropower reservoir sees an increasing amount of debris being washed down by the Wangchu. This has increased the work load of preventing debris from getting into the water intake part of the dam.

It also risks reduction in power generation, say officials.

With driftwood, pet bottles and numerous other wastes floating, the Chhukha hydropower reservoir remains littered with trash every monsoon. All washed down by the Wangchu from settlements upstream.

And the officials say, the quantity of debris is increasing every year.


“I believe this could be basically due to the increasing settlement in the catchment area. There could be environmental degradation taking place there and when there is even the slightest of rainfall, the catchment area gets flooded, which carries down the drift woods and other trashes dumped by the people living upstream of the dam.” says Yeshi Tenzin, the Head of the Chhukha Hydropower Plant.

The debris are fished out by a trash-rack cleaning machine periodically. But during monsoon the work is carried out almost round the clock.

To prevent it from going towards the water intake side, tuffboom or waterway barriers have been placed. But, with increasing debris, chances of it flowing into the water intake part is said to be higher. This, officials said, could choke the water intake part.

Meanwhile, the Druk Green Power Corporation, every monsoon, notifies the general public to refrain from dumping trash in the river. Officials also acknowledged the awareness initiatives carried out by the thromdes of the two dzongkhags located upstream. But these haven’t helped much.

Constructed in the 1970s and commissioned in 1986, Chhukha Hydropower Plant is the country’s first mega hydropower project. With an installed capacity of 336 MW, it generates over 1,800m units of electricity every year.

1 Comment for “Debris along Wangchu impedes Chhukha hydropower generation”

  1. Tsering

    There is clearly a need to educate the public that we cannot go on polluting the water/environment and that we have to ultimately pay for it. Perhaps there should be a brief write up how every Bhutanese benefits from the success of Chukha Hydro Project and it is towards our future generation interest.

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