Lake levels at Kariba stabilise

By Phillipa Jaja

The Lake Level at Kariba has stabilised in the past four days owing to a steady rise due to higher inflows on the mainstream Zambezi River as compared to outflows, says the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA).

The dam impounds water for the 1,830 MW Kariba hydroelectric plant. It consists of the Kariba North Power Station operated by ZESCO Limited and the Kariba South Power Station operated by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).

The period under review on 26 June showed a lake level of 479.93m (31.30% usable storage).

This is a marginal freeboard difference of 0.26m compared to 480.19m (33.22% usable storage) recorded on the same date last year.

The Kariba Lake is designed to operate between levels 475.50m and 488.50m (with 0.70m freeboard) for hydropower generation.

The week under review, 16 June started with a lake level of 479.87 (30.87% usable storage) as compared to 480.21 (33.37% usable storage) last year.

The significant increase in the Kariba Dam water level usually starts being recorded between April to June 2023, which is the period during which the waters from the Barotse Floodplains greatly influence water levels at Lake Kariba, according to the Hydro Review.

ZRA allocated 40 BCM of water to cater for power generation operations at Kariba for 2023.

This allocation is being shared equally between ZESCO and ZPC for their respective power generation operations.

ZRA is a bi-national organization mandated to contribute to the economic, industrial and social development of the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe by obtaining the greatest possible benefits from the natural advantages offered by the waters of the Zambezi River through the most economical and effective means of providing water for generation of electricity and for other purposes the contracting states may decide upon.

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