The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) is this month expected to complete part of the work to rehabilitate Kariba Dam that is jointly shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe and a major source of hydropower generation for the two neighbours, ZRA said on Wednesday.
ZRA had during the last quarter of 2021 asked the state-owned power utilities for the two countries – ZESCO Limited for Zambia and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) – to reduce power generation levels for several hours on selected days to facilitate coffer dam construction works under the plunge pool reshaping sub-project of the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project (KDRP).
In doing so, the utilities were expected to implement measures to mitigate the resulting reduction in power generation levels at Kariba, a development that saw ZESCO and ZPC implementing load-shedding programmes.
“The specific works under the pool reshaping sub-project that called for this need have since advanced and are due to be completed by 25th January 2022, thereby ending the Authority’s request to the two power generation utilities,” ZRA said.
The refurbishment project, which commenced in 2017, comprises the reshaping of the plunge pool and the refurbishment of the spillway gates.
The authority assured the two countries that the remaining works of the KDRP would not result in the utilities seeing reduced generation levels at their respective Kariba power stations.
The KDRP is scheduled to be completed by 2024 and is aimed at assuring the long-term safety and reliability of Kariba dam.
ZRA also reported an increase in water levels in Lake Kariba during the past few weeks.
Owing to the recent steady increase in rainfall activity and associated increase in Zambezi River flows as well as the resultant Lake Kariba inflow, the Lake Level rose from 478.23 metres recorded on January 7 to 478.47m on January 17.
“The Authority allocated 45 BCM (billion cubic metres) to be shared equally between ZESCO Limited and Zimbabwe Power Company for their respective power generation operations at Kariba during 2022.”
ZRA is a bi-national organisation mandated to contribute to the economic, industrial, and social development of Zambia and Zimbabwe by obtaining the greatest possible benefits from the natural advantages offered by the waters of the Zambezi River.