BUENOS AIRES – One of Brazil’s most important hydroelectric power plants is temporarily shutting down its operations due to the low water level of the Madeira River, reported dpa news agency.
The water level of the river is currently only 50 per cent of the historical average due to a severe drought, the company Santo Antônio Energia said on Monday.
According to the Civil Defence, the water level is currently 1.43 metres. Recently it dropped by more than one metre in just one week.
The Santo Antônio hydroelectric power plant near Porto Velho in the state of Rondônia is one of the largest in Brazil. It has 50 turbines with an installed capacity of 3,568 megawatts. Latin America’s largest economy generates about 65 per cent of its electrical energy from hydropower.
This is the second time that the Santo Antônio hydropower plant has had to suspend its operations completely. The last time this happened was during a severe flood in 2014.
The Brazilian Amazon is currently suffering from a major drought. Many rivers in the region carry significantly less water than the average in previous years.
The normal dry season is currently being exacerbated by El Niño. This weather phenomenon, which occurs every few years, is causing more drought and heat in several countries including Brazil. – Bernama