DUSHANBE, March 13, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- A recent sharp fall in temperatures has led to decrease in the water flow rate in the Vakhsh River on which the main hydropower plants of the country are located, an official source at Barqi Tojik (the state-owned utility responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Tajikistan) said.

Compared to early March generation of electricity has fallen 15-20 percent, the source said, noting that Tuesday morning the water flow rate in the Vakhsh River was at 70-80 cubic meters per second, “which is nearly three or four times lower as compared with the same date of the previous years.”

He further noted that it could not be ruled out that electricity rationing would be introduced in all large cities, including Dushanbe, if the cold weather continued in the upper reaches of the Vakhsh River.

“Water levels at the Norak reservoir have fallen to 863.53 meters because mountain snow has not yet melted,” the source said.

We will recall that Barqi Tojik announced on October 13, 2011 the imposition of a new rationing for electricity supplies throughout the country.  The rationing went into effect in the regions, with the exception of the capital Dushanbe and other large cities of the country.

Measures rationing electricity supplies are usually introduced in all regions except Dushanbe and seek to curb the country''s rising electricity consumption. The rationing is introduced in October or November and lasts through March or April next year.  The rationing results in the supply of daily electrical power being reduced to 12 or 10 hours.  In addition to curbing rising consumption, the move also stems from a decline in the water level in the country''s reservoirs powering the main hydroelectric power plants.