Kariba almost half full – report 

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 09:09:40 +0000

 

LAKE Kariba is almost half full with volumes of water harvested now standing at 481.09m, twice the amount the dam had at the same time last year, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has indicated.

According to the latest update by the authority, Lake Kariba has hit 40 percent for the period under review stretching from March 28, 2017, to April 3, 2017, as opposed to the 20 percent recorded last year during the same period under review.

The authority says the water rose to 0.12 metres due to the increased inflow of water from the Zambezi mainstream into the lake, thereby increasing the volume of water harvested so far.

“Kariba Lake was created and designed to operate between levels 475.50m and 488.50m with 0.70m freeboard at all times. The lake level rose by 0.12m during the week under review due to increased inflow on the Zambezi mainstream into the lake and closed the week at 481.09m on 3rd April 2017.

‘‘Last year on the same date, the lake level was 478.38m. All spillway gates at Kariba remained closed during the week under review,” reads its update on its website.

Zambia was hit by a prolonged drought in 2015 due to the El Nino weather pattern which affected water harvest which led to load shedding as the country depended much on hydro power generation as the Kariba dam water levels hit their lowest.

In June 2015, ZESCO released a statement saying that erratic rainfall over the last two years had resulted in low water supplies at both its Kariba North power station and Kafue Gorge station.

Kariba was at the time running at only 40 percent capacity while Kafue Gorge was running at one-third of its 1,500 megawatt (MW) generation capacity.

The Kariba dam supplies 1,626 megawatts of electricity to parts of both Zambia and Zimbabwe and generates 6,400 gigawatt-hours per annum and each country has its own power station on the north and south bank of the dam respectively.

Since Zambia’s independence in 1964, two dams projects have been built on the Kafue River – the Kafue Gorge dam and the Itezhi-Tezhi dam.

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