IHA Statement: Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) destroys Teesta-III Dam in Sikkim

Friday 6 September 2023 – The International Hydropower Association (IHA) expresses its deepest condolences to all those affected by the disastrous floods in Sikkim in northeast India yesterday.  

Reports show that a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) from Lhonak Lake washed away a 60-metre-high dam, a part of Sikkim’s largest hydropower project, the 1.2 GW Teesta-III, owned by Sikkim Urja Limited (formerly Teesta Urja Limited), a state government enterprise of the Government of Sikkim.

Eddie Rich, IHA CEO said: “Our thoughts are with the families experiencing loss right now and the emergency services engaged in the search and rescue effort. Climate change means we will continue to see more weather-related natural disasters. We will need more water management, and some of this can be used for provision of clean energy. It will need to be done sustainably. We stand ready to support Sikkim Urja Limited in rehabilitating the stations and the surrounding infrastructure and communities.”

The flash floods also damaged the sluice gates of the Teesta-V Power Station, which won the IHA Blue Planet Prize in 2021 for meeting or exceeding international good practice across all 20 performance criteria using the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, including infrastructure safety. Two downstream low head hydropower plants were safe due to timely and efficient emergency operation.

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