The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. David Muhoozi has directed the UPDF Engineering Brigade to deploy its engineers to help clear the floating island that caused a power blackout on Tuesday.
According to the army spokesperson, Brig. Richard Karemire the UPDF engineers started work on Wednesday evening and will take seven days.
“The UPDF Chief of Engineers Brigade, Brig Besigye Bekunda who will also supervise the work said that the silt from the vegetation blocked turbines which affected power generation and will be removed mechanically using excavators and tippers from the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre (URDCC) and Ministry of Works,” Brig. Karemire said in a statement.
Brig Bekunda said there is another floating island 7km away moving towards the dam that needs to be blocked using a wire mesh before it causes more damage.
“All this is due to the increasing water levels of Lake Victoria caused by heavy rains and human activity,” he said.
Present to witness the commencement of the work was the commandant of the Senior Command and Staff College Kimaka Lt Gen Andrew Guti and the Commandant URDCC Brig Gen Peter Gaetano Omola among others.
The floating island of water hyacinth measuring about two acres on Tuesday blocked turbines at the Nalubaale dam causing a nationwide power blackout.
According to Eng. Ziliya Tibalwa, the CEO for Electricity Regulatory Authority, the land mass moved with vegetation and other debris that choked the turbines.
“The plantations ran into screens that are supposed to filter the water before it goes into turbines to generate power, and once screens were blocked by rubbish and other plantations, the turbines could not get enough water,” said Ziliya Tibalwa, the CEO for Electricity Regulatory Authority adding that the floating island moved with vegetation and other debris that choked the turbines.
Eskom Uganda Limited that manages the dams in Jinja said the huge land mass blocked the cooling pipe systems that draw water from the dam reservoir to cool the generating machinery.