Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zambezi Authority issues flood warning

Zambezi Authority issues floods warning

Posted By Own Staff Saturday, 06 March 2010 01:32

Areas that are downstream of Kariba Dam have been warned of possible flooding as the Zambezi River Authority plans to open the dam’s floodgates to relieve pressure on the dam wall.

In a statement, ZRA advised the general public to take precautionary measures, as a sudden rise in the river level downstream was expected.

The huge inflows of water into the Kariba Dam call for the opening of the floodgates to relieve pressure on the dam wall to avoid cracking and collapse. The collapse of the dam would compromise the region’s power
supplies. The Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said the dam could collapse and flooding could take place as there was too much water going to the Kariba Dam.

“The spillway gates have to be opened to avoid over topping of the water and flooding along the Kariba Dam banks. Once there is too much water, the Kariba dam wall could also be damaged and that could mean there will be an electricity blackout in the region,” he said.

Minister Nkomo said it was important for villagers living along the banks of the Zambezi downstream of the Kariba Dam to be informed of the opening of the gates so that they take precautionary measures.

“Once the gates are opened, there could be a sudden rise in the river downstream of Kariba, hence villagers need to take precautionary measures, so that they are not taken by surprise and flooded by the water,” he said.

Due to heavy rains that were received in February over the Zambezi River Basin, there has been an increase in the river flow in the Zambezi River.

There are six spillway gates, but the ZRA opens three at a time, to control the water. After about two weeks, they then open the other three gates.

The ZRA also highlighted that it was important for precautionary measures to be taken as forecasts by the Meteorological Department were that wet conditions were likely to continue for some time.

However, Minister Nkomo said the filling up of the Zambezi River did not benefit the country in terms of the water situation.

“The filling up of the Zambezi River does not address the crisis of the water situation in most cities in the country because by the time the water reaches Kariba it will have gone past the pipeline area,” he said.

Zimbabwe is hoping to draw water from the Zambezi River to the Gwayi-Shangani dam to ease the water problems in the Matabeleland region. 


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