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Drought in the Tsavo National Park appears to have come to an end | Coastweek

Tsavo East -- Fortunately, the 18-month drought experienced across much of world famous Tsavo National Park appears to have come to an end earlier this week with large areas drenched in life-giving monsoon rains. Recently the wildlife in Tsavo East National Park has been hit hard with the lack of rain and many water holes have dried up. Malindi photographer and Honourary KWS Warden ADRIANO GHIRARDELLO was on hand to see a parched elephant herd enjoying the first unexpected downpour.

Erratic rainfall push Kenya to costly thermal power generation

by Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- For about five years now, Kenya has been injecting more power from geothermal and hydro sources into the national grid as it cuts production from thermal sources.

The country produces geothermal electricity from wells located in the Rift Valley while for hydro, it has several dams situated in Eastern and western Kenya.

Thermal energy, on the other hand, is produced from power plants that use diesel and fuel oil.

Of the three, geothermal has been the biggest source of electricity due to its reliability, followed by hydro and thermal.

However, all this has changed due to erratic weather that has forced Kenya to alter its energy production from the three sources.

The percentage of thermal electricity injected into the national grid has risen considerably to make up for hydro generation affected by low water levels following poor rains in the last two years.

Latest economic data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed Monday that Kenya is generating up to 274 million Kilowatts per hour (KWh) of electricity from thermal sources every month, which is three times more than it did over a year ago.

Generation of electricity from thermal sources had dropped to a low of 92 million KWh in May 2016 but has been rising over the months as hydro generation experiences challenges.

In January, thermal power generation stood at 197 million KWh and rose to peak at 274 million KWh in June.

The rise pushes thermal power in the East African nation’s energy mix to 32 percent of the electricity consumed, against hydropower 21 percent.

In June, Kenya generated from hydro sources 183 million KWh of electricity as production for the first time in many years fell below 200 million KWh.

Hydropower production has been on a steady decline closing 2016 in December at 299 million KWh and starting January at 252 million KWh.

On the other hand, production from geothermal stood at 376 million KWh in June having remained stable throughout the period.

The source contributes about 45 percent of power in the energy mix.

In 2015, Kenya injected 280 megawatts of cheaper geothermal energy to the national grid, pushing up installed capacity from 1,765 megawatts (MW) in June 2013 to 2,327MW as at December 2016.

The drop in hydro-power production has been attributed to erratic rains in the last two years that have significantly reduced the amount of water in the dams that include Seven Forks Dam on Tana River, Sondu-Miriu in western Kenya, and Turkwel Gorge in the North West.

The increased use of thermal sources translate into higher monthly bills for consumers since they have to pay for fuel levy that is linked to the amount of diesel-generated power on the grid.

Electricity tariffs, which started to rise in December, last year, have sustained an upward trend albeit marginally as the Meteorological Department forecasts dry weather conditions in coming months.

"The average retail tariffs increase due to surge in fuel cost charge occasioned by a rise in petrol thermal power in the energy mix by 3 percent.

"This was mainly due to low water levels at Sondu-Miriu and Seven Forks dams necessitating running of petrol based thermal power plants to cover the short-fall," the Energy Regulatory Commission noted recently.

Last month, households that consumed 200 KWh of power paid 36 U.S. dollars compared to 33 dollars in July 2016.

On the other hand, those that consumed 50 KWh per hour paid 5.6 dollars compared to 5 dollars in 2016.

"Electricity tariffs are among the biggest contributors of inflation in the country.

"If they rise, inflation rises.

"If the current trend continues, electricity costs would add burden to consumers and set them up for higher inflation, which now stands at 7.5 percent since electricity is used to produce many goods," said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi.

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TSAVO EAST -- One year with no water in this arid drinking spot | Coastweek
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TSAVO EAST -- One year with no water in this arid drinking spot. Water is such an issue for the animals and you will see from the attached photos of one of the dry water holes, the lorry dispensing water, and lastly animals drinking at the water holes.
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EARLIER REPORT:

Lorry loads of water trucked in for the water holes of Tsavo East

TSAVO EAST -- The wildlife in Tsavo East National Park has been hit hard with the lack of rain and many water holes have dried up, report Sue and Howard Lawrence-Brown from Mombasa.

Jiten Malde of Texprint, Mombasa Limited, together with Tiju Aziz a resident in Voi, Jiten’s family and friends recently got together to raise money to hire lorry loads of water that are trucked in for the water holes at posts No. 104, 102, Irrima 1 and 2 and Ndololo.
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Entering the Tsavo East Park from the Voi Gate, the first water hole is approximately 12 kms from the gate on the main Voi to Aruba road and the others a bit further on.

This all started on 11th August 2017 with Sifa Investments donating the use of a lorry, but water and fuel have to be bought.

It costs Kshs 7,000/- per lorry of water.

Since this has happened the elephants and plains game are regular visitors to the newly filled water holes.

Water is such an issue for the animals and you will see from the attached photos of one of the dry water holes and the other photo of the lorry dispensing water and lastly animals drinking at the water holes.

This is not just a one time fill up of water for these water holes as the animals are starting to use the water holes regularly and with the heat during the day, the holes will need topping up.

Anyone who knows this park and even if you don’t but would like to help keep the water holes going until the rains come, you can send whatever donation you would like to MPESA number 0722242133.

Thank you for your consideration.

I hope you get to visit this Park, as Howard and I have done on many occasions over the years.

 
Before the rains elephant survive on tanker water | Coastweek

TSAVO EAST -- Jiten Malde and friends deliver life saving tankers.

Before the rains elephant survive on tanker water | Coastweek

TSAVO EAST -- Before the rains elephant survive on tanker water.

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Tsavo East National Park is just one of many unique wildlife parks/ reserves that Kenya has and home to so many unique animals and birds.

             

 

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