Tanzania begins rationing electricity due to drought

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Tanzania has begun rationing electricity due to a drop in hydroelectric output after a severe drought, the national power company said Wednesday (November 24), with some areas facing nine-hour blackouts.

The East African country can produce nearly 1,695 megawatts of power from hydroelectricity and natural gas, among other sources.

But it is currently facing a shortfall of 300 to 350 megawatts, said Maharage Chande, managing director of Tanesco, the national power company.

"There are two main reasons for the drop in production: a prolonged drought and ongoing maintenance of certain sites," he told reporters in the economic capital Dar es Salaam.

The site of Kihansi for example, in the region of Morogoro (south-east), has seen its production capacity fall from 180 megawatts to only 17 megawatts. 

Tanzania has been trying to increase its hydroelectricity production in recent years, thanks in particular to the construction of the controversial Julius Nyerere Dam in the Selous Reserve, which was supposed to produce around 2,100 megawatts.

Like its neighbors, the country has experienced low rainfall and a delayed rainy season, forcing authorities to impose water rationing in Dar es Salaam last month.

The situation is even more dramatic in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, which are facing the worst drought in decades.

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