THE Zambezi River Authority says that the Kariba Dam is 85 per cent full.
According to a press statement issued by Elizabeth Karonga, the authority’s public relations and communications manager, the Kariba Dam was two metres from being completely filled.
“At the end of July 2018, the Kariba Reservoir was 85 per cent full…the Zambezi River Authority has therefore, increased the water allocated to the two power stations for power generation,” Karonga said.
She added that the dam is 85 per cent full and was at 11 metres above the minimum operating level.
Karonga said Zesco and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) would be expected to jointly use approximately 23 billion cubic metres for the remaining period of the year, bringing the total annual allocation to 45 billion cubic metres for 2018.
“This is an increase of 32 per cent from the original 2018 water allocation and is expected to help increase electricity generation at Kariba Dam. With this water allocation, the Lake Kariba level is
expected to close the year 2018 in the order of 7 metres above the minimum operating level, representing around 58 per cent usable storage for electricity generation,” Karonga said.
She further indicated that in 2015 and 2016, the SADC region in general, and the Zambezi River catchment in particular, received average to below average rainfall due to the El-Nino effect experienced during that time.
Karonga said this resulted in below average inflows into Lake Kariba and the corresponding low end-of-year lake levels of 14 per cent for 2015,15 per cent for 2016 and 37 per cent for 2017.
“The low lake levels signified a great reduction in available water for power generation activities at the two power stations. To mitigate the negative effects of the El-Nino on the water levels recorded at Kariba at that time, the Zambezi River Authority, in consultation with the two power utilities, reduced the allocated water for power
generation from 40.5 billion cubic metres in 2015 to strictly 20 and 30 billion cubic metres for the two years 2016 and 2017, respectively,” she indicated.
Karonga added that due to the conservation measures highlighted above, coupled with the above average rainfall received during the 2017 period, there had been a significant increase in the stored usable water for power generation.
She, however, indicated that the ZRA would continue to monitor the situation to ensure the sustained availability of water for power generation at Kariba Dam.