Bakun HEP Holds Back Upstream Water Inflow to Minimise Impact of Seasonal Rainfall on Downstream Communities

Controlled release of water from Bakun spillway kept at minimal level

5 OCTOBER 2021

Sarawak Energy’s 2,400MW Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) plays a major role in mitigating the severity of flooding downstream of the Rejang River by balancing both upstream reservoir and downstream water levels especially during periods of heavy rainfall.

With the recent heavy rainfall at upstream and downstream areas, Bakun HEP has been holding back a large volume of rainwater, greatly reducing and mitigating the impact of downstream flooding situations in Kanowit and Sibu.

The current high water level situation downstream is due to a combination of prevailing conditions including heavy rainfall downstream of the Bakun HEP and the king tide.

Sarawak Energy has a dedicated team that vigilantly monitors water levels at the Bakun reservoir and downstream rivers on a daily basis. The water levels of Murum HEP, located upstream, are also monitored daily.

The team is also working closely with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Sarawak to reduce release volume from its Bakun spillway according to downstream water levels to ensure the safety of its downstream Punan Ba community.

The current seasonal release of water through the Bakun HEP spillway commenced on 8 September 2021 and is scheduled to last for five weeks, until water level in the reservoir normalises.

This controlled procedure is conducted on a seasonal basis after consulting local councils and stakeholders, with the communities notified at least two days ahead of the scheduled release.

Controlled release is a standard practice for hydropower operators worldwide and has been undertaken by the operator of Bakun since it was commissioned in 2010.