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Drought forces hydro cut back

ADECISION BY THE NEW Hampshire state in the US, to reduce the flow of water out of Lake Winnipesaukee is forcing hydro plants to cut back power production.

Officials with the state Department of Environmental Services, Water Resources Division made the decision due to a lack of precipitation during the past year. One immediate impact of the reduced flow – from 6.5m3/sec to 0.85M3/sec – is that the six hydroelectric dams between Lakeport and Franklin have been forced to shut down.

According to officials at Alogonquin Power of Toronto in Canada, which owns the hydro stations on Winnipesaukee river, the water shortage is not limited to the lakes region, but is statewide.

Generating stations in Goffstown, Keene, Hopkinton, Milton and Nashua have also been forced to shut down.

The company’s Lakeport and Clement dams in Tilton are also completely shut down, while Avery and Lochmere dams are producing less than 30kW.

Production of electricity in the state started to fall off in December 2001 when the plants only produced 21% of their usual output.