The lifespan of Meghalaya’s Umiam Dam, one of the oldest hydroelectric power generation structures in the region, has been reduced by five years due to pollution and siltation. It is expected to end by 2024.
Constructed before the creation of Meghalaya in the early 1960s, the Umiam Dam stores water for hydroelectric power generation.
“The lifespan of the dam was designed for 100 years, the MeECL (Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited) officials told us that the life of the dam will end in the next five years by 2024 due to heavy siltation and pollution,” Meghalaya Assembly Committee on Environment Chairman S.K. Sun said.
The life of the Umiam Dam was estimated to be 100 years which should be by 2065.
Sun, who inspected the Umiam Dam with committee members, urged the public to take care of the dam especially the two rivers – Umkhrah and Umshyrpi – in Shillong city by not throwing waste indiscriminately.
Studies related to assessment of siltation of the Umiam Dam was conducted in 1990 by Water and Power Consultancy Services (Wapcos) and Tojo Vikas International Private Limited, New Delhi in 2004.
“It is alarming that the lifespan of the dam is ending by 2024. What will happen after that? Therefore all stakeholders should be concerned and put our heads together in saving this dam,” Sun said.
During the inspection, the committee found that silt deposits in the dam was very high and all types of waste including plastic waste carried by the highly polluted Umkhrah and Umshyrpi rivers accumulated in the dam.