• Currently 550Mw for each Kariba power station.
• Kariba the Lake levels receded during the last quarter of 2021 into the first week of January 2022.
• Remaining works of the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project will not result in the two utilities seeing reduced generation levels at their respective Kariba power stations.
Zambezi River Authority has cautioned Zesco Limited and Zimbabwe Power Company not to generate power at higher levels than that associated with water allocation made for 2022 owing to delayed onset of 2021/2022 rainfall season.
Zambezi River Authority Chief Executive Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa noted the Authority allocated 45 Billion Cubic Meters to be shared equally between Zesco Limited and Zimbabwe Power Company for their respective power generation operations at Kariba during 2022.
Engineer Munodawafa explained the allocation was, among other factors, informed by the predictions of Normal to Above Normal Rainfall provided by the regional weather and climate experts but will be subject to a downward review where the rainfall season turns out to be a drought period to conserve the stored usable water and support power generation operations into 2023.
“Owing to the delayed onset of the 2021/2022 rainfall season, the Authority has cautioned the two Power Utilities not to generate at higher levels (currently 550Mw for each Kariba power station) than that associated with the water allocation made for 2022,” the Engineer stated.
He said the Authority is now preparing to undertake hydrological review for the first quarter of 2022 that will further inform water allocation for power generation operations at Kariba.
Further, Engineer Munodawafa revealed that Kariba Lake levels receded during the last quarter of 2021 into first week of January 2022.
He however stated owing to recent steady increase in rainfall activity, associated increase in Zambezi River flows and resultant Lake Kariba inflow, the Lake Level has been positioned 2.97 meters above the Minimum Operating Level of 475. 50meters.
“However, owing to the recent steady increase in rainfall activity and associated increase in Zambezi River flows as well as the resultant Lake Kariba inflow, the Lake Level rose from 478.23m recorded on 7th January 2022 to 478.47m recorded on 17th January 2022, positioning the lake 2.97 meters above the Minimum Operating Level (MOL) of 475. 50meters.” said Engineer Munodawafa.
The Zambezi River Authority Chief Executive also pointed out that the 25th meeting of regional weather and climate experts, Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum and the Local Meteorological Departments of the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe all projected Normal to Above Normal rainfall for most of the Southern Africa Region.
He notes the rainfall season was projected to commence by October 2021 and progress into March 2022.
“However, the rainfall season only started in earnest late December 2021, resulting in reduced inflows into Lake Kariba, thus the lower lake levels recorded during the period October 2021 to early January 2022.”
Meanwhile Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa indicated that, remaining works of the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project (KDRP) would not result in the two utilities seeing reduced generation levels at their respective Kariba power stations.
Engineer Munodawafa explained that “during the last quarter of 2021, the Authority requested Zesco Limited and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to reduce Power Generation levels for six (6) hours only, on a few selected dates to facilitate coffer dam construction works under the plunge pool reshaping sub-project of the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project (KDRP).
According to him, “In doing so, the utilities were expected to implement measures that would mitigate the resulting reduction in power generation levels at Kariba.”
The Engineer reveals specific works under the pool reshaping sub-project that called for this need have since advanced and are due to be completed by 25th January 2022, thereby ending the Authority’s request to the two power generation utilities.
He pointed out that the KDRP was scheduled to be completed by 2024 and is aimed at assuring the long-term safety and reliability of Kariba dam.