The annual Kariba Tiger Fishing Competition is a major tourist attraction held in October and tourism operators in the resort town believe easing of COVID-19 restrictions would see such events boosting the sector
The Zambezi basin, covering approximately 1,390,000 km², is an African drainage basin, whose main flow is the Zambezi River, being the fourth largest basin on the continent, in addition to being the most important basin in Southern Africa.

Talkmore Gandiwa

The Zambezi River Authority has revised upwards the water volume for power generations at Lake Kariba to three billion cubic meters due the above normal rains projected for Zimbabwe and Zambia ahead of the 2021/2022 rainy season.

In a press statement, Chief Executive Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the 3BCM increase in water allocation was informed through the hydrological simulations.

He said ZRA had also considered the obtaining stored usable water and power generation levels at the two Kariba Power Stations.

“The Authority will continue to closely monitor the hydrological outlook at Kariba and make necessary adjustments, where necessary, to ensure the sustainable operation of the Kariba Reservoir going into the year 2022,” Mudodawafa said.

The increase in water allocation comes following another review in June this year where ZESCO Limited (ZESCO) and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), were jointly granted an additional 12 billion cubic meters of water for power generation.

“The 2021 allocation increased from the initial combined allocation of 30BCM granted at the commencement of 2021 to 42 BCM,” he said.

The latest increase means the two power utilities have been effectively allocated a combined total of 45 BCM for 2021, with each utility expected to utilize a total of 22.5BCM for its respective power generation operations.

The Authority’s decision to further increase the 2021 water allocation is premised on the provisions of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Acts which provide for the regulation of the Kariba Reservoir in liaison with the two power generation utilities.

“The provisions of the ZRA Acts have subsequently been operationalized under a tripartite Water Purchase Agreement (WPA) signed between the two utilities and the Authority,” Munodawafa said.

He said the WPA made provision for quarterly reviews of the hydrological outlook at Kariba to inform on the continued availability of water and the need, if any, for adjustments in the amount allocated for power generation at Kariba.

“The quarterly reviews may result in a downward or upward adjustment in the allocation made to Kariba North and South Bank Power Stations for their respective generation operations.”

Lake Kariba is designed to operate between levels 475.50m and 488.50m (with 0.70m freeboard) for hydropower generation.

The Lake level has been dropping steadily, at 497.97m (31.59% usable storage) as at November 1 this year compared to 479.11m (25.35% usable storage) recorded on the same date last year.

According to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, Lake Kariba had, as at October 11 this year had 64800.00 million cubic meters with current capacity of 24 206.3 cubic meters standing at 37.4 percent full.

The Zambezi River Authority is a Bi-National organization mandated to contribute to the economic, industrial, and social development of the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe by obtaining the greatest possible benefits from the natural advantages offered by the waters of the Zambezi River (between Zambia and Zimbabwe) through the most economical and effective means of providing water for generation of electricity and for other purposes which the Contracting States may decide upon.

The dam stands 128 metres (420 ft) tall and 579 metres (1,900 ft) long. The dam forms Lake Kariba, which extends for 280 kilometres (170 mi) and holds 185 cubic kilometres (150,000,000 acre⋅ft) of water.

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