Water levels continue to rise at Kariba’s main flow stations

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Sinikiwe Marodza

Harare - A few weeks after the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) issued a report indicating an increase of water volumes at Kariba Dam’s major flow stations, Chavuma, Victoria Falls, Nana’s farm and Ngonye, another report outlining that the water flows continues to rise has emerged.

According to a recent report that was issued by ZRA early this week, water flows at Victoria Falls and Chavuma, the main flow stations that feeds Kariba Dam, have risen by 25 percent compared to last year’s statistics of the first week of February.

“Throughout this week of February, the Zambezi River flow at Victoria Falls has continued to rise quite steadily above last year’s flows during the same period by 25 percent. However, this is still below the long-term average by 29 percent.

“The flow in the Zambezi River at Chavuma shot up by 73 cubic metres per second between the 5th and 6th of February, indicating intense run off on the Zambezi headwaters. The flow is still soaring above the long term average by 41 percent and last year’s flows by 189 percent,” ZRA said.

ZRA added that the flows in the month of February had exceeded what was recorded in 2014/15 at the same point in the year, giving a ray of hope for better run-off at the station this year than last year.

Expectation is that the river flow will further pick up at Victoria Falls, which is downstream of Chavuma and nearer to Kariba as there is a four-week lag between flows at Chavuma and the resort town of Victoria Falls.

The continued increase of water flow at these stations brings a ray of hope to power struggling Zambia and Zimbabwe, who are currently failing to generate enough electricity due to the decrease of water levels at Kariba Dam.

Because of the 2018/19 drought, water levels at Kariba Dam dropped by over three metres, leaving the ZRA with no option than to reduce water volumes for Zambia and Zimbabwe’s hydro power generation, on which the two countries depend on for  electricity.

However, although water levels at the flow stations are rising, the dream of going back to the old hydro-power generation capacity for Zambia and Zimbabwe is still far from becoming a reality.

According to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) coordination centre, an increase in water flow at the flow station does not mean a change in the amount of water allocated for hydro power generation is guaranteed.

Stephen Dihwa SAPP, coordination centre manager, said Zambia and Zimbabwe will have to wait for another report from ZRA that indicates a rise in water levels at the Kariba dam.

“Just because water flow at Kariba’s main flow stations has risen, it doesn’t mean water level at Kariba Dam has risen. We have to wait again for ZRA to give us statistics on water levels at Kariba Dam.

“Only then we can start hoping for a new water allocation for hydro power generation,” he said.

 

 

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