The water level in the reservoir the Nurek hydropower plant is at 857.64 meters, which is 5.07 meters lower compared to last year, Anvar Kiromiddinov, deputy engineer-in-chief of the Nurek hydropower plant, told reporters on April 3.  The tour of the Nurek hydropower plant was organized for journalists by Barqi Tojik (Tajikistan’s power generation company).

Based on data provided by Mr. Kiromiddinov, it just remains only 64 centimeters to the critical point.

The headwater mark (the upper reaches) of the Nurek reservoir is at 910 meters above the sea level, while the critical point, after which the use of the reservoir water is strictly prohibited, is at 587 meters.  

According to Kiromiddinov, the water inflow in the Vakhsh River that feed into the Nurek reservoir on April 3 was only 295 cubic meters per second, which is 151 m3 per second less than on the same date last year. 

The Nurek hydropower plant specialists say that to fully provide the country with electricity the water inflow in the Vakhsh River must exceeds 500 m3 per second.

Kiromiddinov emphasized that such a difficult situation with water shortages for generation of electricity has not been observed in the country over the past 12 years.  

Meanwhile, Mr. Nozir Yodgori, a spokesman for Barqi Tojik, noted that according to weather forecasters, temperatures are expected to rise from the beginning of the coming week that will lead to the increase in the water inflow in the Vakhsh River.   

Mahmadamin Mahmadsaidzoda, the engineer-in-chief of the Nurek hydropower plant, noted that on April 2, the Nurek hydropower plant generated only 14 million kWh of electricity, which is 7 million kWh less than on the same date last year.  

The Nurek hydropower plant, with an installed capacity of over 3,000 megawatts, reportedly generates about 70 percent of total annual energy demand in Tajikistan.  The Nurek Dam was constructed by the Soviet Union between the years 1961 and 1980.  It is uniquely constructed, with a central core of cement forming an impermeable barrier within a 300 meter high rock and earth fill construction.  

The reservoir formed by the Nurek Dam is still the largest reservoir in Tajikistan with a capacity of 10.5 km3.  The reservoir is over 70 km in length, and has a surface area of 98 km2.

Measures rationing electricity supplies are usually introduced in all regions of the country and they seek to curb the country's rising electricity consumption.  The rationing results in the supply of daily electrical power being reduced to 10 or 12 hours.  In addition to curbing rising consumption, the move also stems from a decline in the water level in the country's reservoirs powering the main hydroelectric power plants.

Power rationing affects rural areas of the country and it does affect Dushanbe, regional administrative centers and large cities.  Residential customers in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), where Pamir Energy Company supplies electricity to consumers, also have an uninterrupted supply of electricity during the autumn-winter period. 

It is to be noted that this time, power rationing was introduced in Tajikistan on September 26, 2023 and it is still in effect.  Meanwhile, rural areas of the country accept lengthy power outages as a routine.