Kariba water levels rise marginally: ZRA

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BY OBERT SIAMILANDU
THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has revealed that water levels at Kariba Dam rose marginally between January 7 and 17 this year due to an increase in rainfall activity since the beginning of the month.

“As per the historical hydrological trend, but compounded by the delayed onset of the 2021/22 rainfall season, the lake levels receded during the last quarter of 2021 into the first week of January 2022,” ZRA chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa said in a statement.

“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 January 7, 2022 to 478,47m recorded on January 17, 2022, positioning the lake 2,97 metres above the minimum operating level (MOL) of 475. 50m.

“This translates to 13,43 billion cubic metres (BCM) or 21% of stored usable water or live storage. On the same date last year, the lake level was slightly higher at 478,63m with 14,17BCM or 21,87% of usable storage, with the lake level being 3m above the MOL.”

Munodawafa added: “The authority allocated 45BCM to be shared equally between Zesco Limited and Zimbabwe Power Company for their respective power generation operations at Kariba during 2022.

“The allocation was, among other factors, informed by the predictions of normal to above normal rainfall provided by the regional weather and climate experts mentioned above, 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.

“The authority is now preparing to undertake the hydrological review for the first quarter of 2022 that will further inform the water allocation for power generation operations at Kariba.”

The Southern Africa Outlook Forum has projected normal to above normal rainfall for southern Africa, including Zimbabwe.

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