In Nepal the demand for electricity has far outstripped the supply, and so many areas are subjected to “load shedding” as the systematic power cuts are called. As so much of the country is extremely hilly or mountainous, with fast flowing rivers draining through it, there is a huge untapped source of hydro-electricity that, with investment, could become available.
|An access tunnel entrance at Ngadi|
It is a huge undertaking. Ever since I have lived here, massive transporter lorries have crawled up the valley, on the only narrow road, laden with massive components for this much needed scheme. The contractors even had to build a new bridge and a tunnel through a rock cliff, to extend the road to reach the construction site.
|The improved road, photo taken out of the window of the bus!|
Before, this upper part of the valley was a beautiful unspoilt start to the Annapurna Circuit trek. Sadly unspoilt is not a word to describe it now, but there is a need to balance environmental concerns with people’s right to technological advances needing electricity.
Two of the schools that I work with are close to this construction site, and I was visiting one of them last week. After my work there was completed I was invited for lunch to a colleagues house in Ngadi, close to the ‘dam-side’ and I was able to look more closely at the installations.
The dam itself is huge, dividing the river into three separate flow channels. The gates were raised at present, allowing the muddy monsoon water to surge through, but I could imagine the potential for generating electricity from this torrent.
This tunnel is at present the longest in Nepal. Turbines have been set into the tunnel to generate as much electricity as possible as the water passes. The water then flows back into the river lower down at Khudi.
The huge red-brick administrative building for the hydro-electric scheme, which is being built downriver at Bhulbule, looks completely out of place. However any building of this size in this position, amongst the traditional villages, would be inappropriate, and the admin offices need to be near the dam, tunnel and turbines, so there is no alternative.
Once completed at the end of 2015, this scheme should help to supply electricity to local people, and hopefully generate income for Nepal too.