• Lake levels have increased by a total of 0.40 meters.
• 3.21 meters above the MOL translates to 14.55 Billion Cubic Meters of usable water.
• Last year on the same date; the Lake level was lower at 8.36 percent usable storage.
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) says the lake levels have increased by a total of 0.40 meters from 22nd December 2020 to 18th January, 2021, pushing the overall lake levels to 3.21 meters above the Minimum Operating Level (MOL) of 475.50m on 18th January 2021.
Authority Chief Executive Officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the 3.21 meters above the MOL translates to 14.55 Billion Cubic Meters of usable water storage currently in the Lake.
Engineer Munodawafa noted that it is encouraging that Lake Levels, which should generally be in a decreasing trend at this time of the year, have continued to record a steady rise due to increased rainfall activity on and around the Lake, leading to a lake level of about 22.45 percent live usable storage on 18th January 2021.
“It is very encouraging to note that the Lake levels, which should generally be in a decreasing trend at this time of the year have continued to record a steady rise due to increased rainfall activity on and around the Lake, leading to a lake level of 478.71m with 22.45% live/usable storage on 18th January 2021. Last year on the same date, the Lake level was lower at 476.71m with 8.36% usable storage,” he said.
He said last year on the same date; the Lake level was lower at 8.36 percent usable storage.
And Engineer Munodawafa added that based on the Meteorological Authorities’ projections of normal to above normal rains for the on-going 2020/2021 rainfall season, the Authority will maintain the 30 BCM of water allocated for power generation operations at Kariba for the year 2021.
He says this will be shared equally between Kariba North Bank Power Station and Kariba South Bank Power Station.
The Chief Executive Officer added that in line with the seasonal forecast released by the Twenty-Fourth Annual Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-24) in August 2020, the bulk of the SADC region in general and the Kariba Catchment in particular, is poised to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for the first quarter of 2021.
Engineer Munodawafa says accordingly, the Zambezi River as monitored at the Authority’s gauging stations has continued to record an increase in flows.
“The Authority continues to gather and record daily water level readings at its 14 gauging stations located across the Kariba Catchment area, with the recorded hydrological data utilised in informing reservoir operations at Kariba. The principal gauging stations of Chavuma and Victoria Falls remain pivotal in as far as the gauging of the overall inflows into Lake Kariba is concerned,” he explained.
He further says Zambezi River flows at Chavuma have continued to show an upward trend due to sustained rainfall activity in the catchment, closing the period under review at One Thousand and eighty cubic meters per second (1,080m3/s) on 18th January 2021, while the flow recorded on the same date last year was lower (480m3/s).
“The Zambezi River flows at Victoria Falls have been increasing steadily due to increased local rainfall activity, closing the period under review at 778 m3/s on 13th January 2021. The flow recorded on the same date last year was lower (501 m3/s),” Engineer Munodawafa noted.
He further said the Authority will continue to monitor the hydrological outlook of the Kariba Catchment and make necessary adjustments in the reservoir operations to ensure continued availability of water for power generation operations at Kariba.