Kariba dam in recession

File picture: Kariba Dam

THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) says water levels at Kariba dam are in recession.

In a statement today (Tuesday) Zambezi River Authority chief executive, Munyaradzi Munodawafa said: "As per hydrological trends in the last quarter of every year, the lake level is in recession pending the onset of the ensuing rainfall season. In this case, the 2021/2022 rainfall season came to a close mid-year 2022 and saw reduced river flows thereafter.

"The recorded lake level on 1st November 2022 was 476.85m with 6.04 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) stored usable water or 9.32% of live storage. This recorded lake level of 476.85m and placed the lake 1.35 meters above the Minimum Operating Level (MOL) of 475.50m.

“On the same date in 2021, the lake level was higher at 479.97m with 20.47 BCM or 31.59% of usable live storage, with the water being 4.47m above the Minimum Operating Level. Lake levels are expected to start rising in the first quarter of 2023 if the flows recorded at Chavuma are sustained.”

Munodawafa said as earlier stated, the hydrological pattern during the last quarter of the year normally records reduced river flows owing to the close of a rainfall season pending the onset of an ensuing season.

"Accordingly, the Zambezi River flows recorded at Chavuma receded between June 2022 and end of October 2022. At the end of October 2022, the flows had receded to 60m3/s. However, the catchment around Chavuma has now recorded some rainfall activity leading to a slight increase in the recorded flow. The recorded flow on 1st November 2022 increased to 63m3/s. On 1st November 2021, the flows were slightly higher at 95m3/s.”

He said the Zambezi River flows monitored at Victoria Falls were also receding owing to the close of the 2021/2022 rainfall season.

"The recorded flow at Victoria Falls on 1st November 2022 was at 238m3/s. On the same date in 2021, the recorded river flows were higher at 294m3/s. However, with the 2022/2023 rainfall season activity the flow recorded at Chavuma which is located upstream of Victoria Falls, and the flows at Victoria falls are also expected to start increasing by the beginning of the first quarter of 2023.”

Meanwhile, the Authority undertook hydrological simulations using the normal to above normal rainfall projections for the upcoming 2022/2023 rainfall season and allocated 40 BCM of water to cater for power generation operations at Kariba for 2023. 

"The 40 BCM water allocation will be shared equally between Zesco Limited of Zambia and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) for their power generation operations at Kariba North Bank Power Station and Kariba South Bank Power Station, respectively.

"The Authority will continue to monitor the hydrological outlook in the Kariba catchment and where necessary, make adjustments to this water allocation to sustain reservoir operations at Kariba,” he said.

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