Zimbabwe Sees Lower Power From Kariba Until at Least February
ZIMBABWE’s power supply from the Kariba hydropower dam that it shares with neighboring Zambia will run at about two-thirds of capacity until February, and may fall further after that, an official said.
The projection assumes no significant rainfall replenishing the dam’s reservoirs over the next few months, Kenneth Maswera, general manager of the Kariba Power Station in Zimbabwe, told lawmakers visiting the dam Thursday.
Kariba is the world’s biggest man-made reservoir by volume that straddles the Zambian and Zimbabwean border and supplies about 1,830 megawatts of power to the two nations when running at full capacity.
“Low rainfall this year has depleted water supplies at the dam, leading to power shortages for homes and industries. Excessive pumping by Zambia has also been a drain”, said Maswera.
“The Zambians have already used up their allocation for this year and are using their allocation for next year. The matter is being handled at a higher level,” he said. Zimbabwe has used about 85 percent of its 2015 allocation set by an oversight body jointly owned by the governments, the Zambezi River Authority.
Generation on the Zimbabwean side is about 468 megawatts and “assuming there’s no rain in the Kariba catchment area, the current water levels can last until February,” Maswera said. “Beyond that, all power stations might have to reduce generation to 250 megawatts.” Each country has a power station fed by Kariba.
At full flow, the Zimbabwe Power Co. generates 750 megawatts from Kariba and a US$355 million upgrade that’s underway will increase capacity to 1,050 megawatts.MKariba is filled by rain flowing into the Zambezi River from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and northwestern Zambia. Zimbabwe generates and imports about 1,300 megawatts of power against a demand of about 2,200 megawatts, resulting in the daily rationing of electricity. (Bloomberg) –By Brian Latham and Godfrey Marawanyika
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