Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Plans to expand Kariba power plant hit snag

Plans to expand Kariba power plant hit snag

Monday, 11 June 2012 12:15

PLANS by Zimbabwe to add two more generators to Kariba South have all but 
hit a brick wall, with the authority responsible for Kariba Dam saying the 
project was not feasible.

Zimbabwe, which shares the Kariba dam with Zambia, was hoping that the new 
generators would help ease power shortages and load-shedding, which are 
common in the country.

“We have looked at the feasibility of the project and there is not enough 
water to run continuous power generation, unless they propose to do so 
during the rainy season peak periods,” Wilson Sakala, the Zambezi River 
Authority senior manager for Water Resources and Environmental Management 

“We fear that if it is continuously run, there won’t be enough water in the 
dam. However, when it’s not during the rainy season, the two units can run 
but only for shorter periods and that means when the dam is full to 
capacity, we no longer have to open the floodgates.”

But the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) insisted that it would go ahead with 
the project, as it was looking to expanding Kariba South to increase 
generational capacity.

“It has not been communicated to us that there are problems with our 
expansion project. In fact we have been advised that the water levels are 
always high in the Kariba Dam.

“Early this year, during a tour of the dam by Sadc, we were apprised on the 
advantages of adding two more units,” Fadzai Chisveto, ZPC spokesperson 
However, the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (Zamcom), which administers the 
Zambezi River on behalf of the eight countries that are on the basin, says 
Zimbabwe’s only chance of increasing power generation is based on its 
ability to look for foreign investors.

“If Zimbabwe cannot buy enough power from the existing Sadc power pool, the 
only solution is for the country to open doors to partners that can fund its 
power projects,” Michael Mutale, Zamcom executive secretary said.

Countries on a cross-border water course like the Zambezi are supposed to 
inform each other of any projects that they are working on the river, so 
that it does not affect other nations who are either up or downstream.

There are eight countries on the Zambezi watercourse and these have to okay 
Zimbabwe’s plans on power generation, which also have to be approved by the 
ZRA, which administers the Kariba Dam on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Countries on the Zambezi watercourse are Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Malawi 
Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Sadc hopes for speedy resolution

Sadc hopes that the issue of adding more generators at Kariba power plant 
may be resolved accordingly. Phera Ramoeli, Sadc senior programme officer 
for water, said despite technical obstacles to Zimbabwe’s installing 
additional generating capacity at Kariba South, he expected a solution would 
be found.

“I am sure these are only technical issues but Zambia and Zimbabwe will iron 
out these between themselves and find a win-win solution since ZRA is a body 
that works in the best interests of the two,” he said.


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