Lake Gatun levels still below normal
While the start of the rainy season has helped Panam’s Hydroelectric reservoirs recover, the lakes that provide drinking water to the community are still below par
Despite the drought, due to the El Niño phenomenon, there is enough capacity to meet the country's electricity needs with thermal plants, including the AES Colón natural gas.
There are more than 50 hydroelectric plants in the country, but most of them are run-off-the- river and do not have reservoirs.
The only ones that can store water in the reservoirs are Fortuna, Changuinola, and Bayano. Bayano, located on the Pacific slope, has suffered the greatest impact of the dry season. The current level is 53.9 meters, just three meters above a minimum of 50 meters.
Although hydroelectric generation is lower at the moment, there is enough capacity to meet the demand l using bunker, coal or natural gas.
The manager of AES Panama, Miguel Bolinaga, said that in recent months the gas plant has contributed 20% of the required energy to the system.
Gatun and Alajuela lakes, which supply water for human consumption of more than 50% of the country's population and for waterway operations, Gatun until Wednesday afternoon was 1.70 meters below the normal level for the date, while the Alajuela was 3.61 meters down, according to the Panama Canal Authority. It has rained in the basin, but only the Alajuela has shown recovery in its level.