Harare – Zambia and Zimbabwe got a winter warmer treat when the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) this week said it would for the foreseeable future maintain the 30 billion cubic metre water allocation for power generation, ensuring both Kariba North and South power stations operate at optimum levels.
ZRA chief executive Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the uninterrupted water supply was due to the good rains in the last summer season, which resulted in an exponential increase in Lake Kariba’s level. Electricity demand usually peaks in winter, but years of successive droughts have meant low energy supply during this time of year in the region.
“The authority has maintained the 30BCM water allocation level for power generation operations at Kariba for the year 2021,” Eng Munodawafa said. “Any adjustments to this allocation will be communicated accordingly.”
According to the ZRA, a Zambia-Zimbabwe joint river administration body, says Lake Kariba’s level reached a peak of 482,83m on June 4, 2021. This was maintained for three days before dropping marginally to 482,82m on June 7.
The authority says this has placed the lake level at 7,32m above the minimum operating level of 475,5m, and this translates to 34,53 billion cubic meters – or 53,28 percent – of usable or live storage.
Last year on June 7, Lake Kariba’s level was lower at 481,06m with 25,77 billion cubic metres, or 39,77 percent of usable storage.
The lake level is, however, expected to start receding when temperatures pick up starting August and as total outflows and evaporation start to exceed inflows.