Zim’s hydro power dam running out of water

February 24, 2016, 8:57am

Picture by Busines Day

By Business Day

Zimbabwe’s main hydro power dam could stop producing electricity in six months’time if water levels keep falling after the nation’s worst drought in more than two decades, an official said on Friday.

Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia both rely heavily on the Kariba dam for electricity, and falling dam levels at the plant raises the threat of deeper power cuts in the two countries, which are already faced with frequent power shortages.

Kariba Power Station’s GM, Kenneth Maswera, said dam levels were at 12% of capacity, a level last recorded in 1992 during a severe drought.

"We’ve not received any significant inflows — basically the level is going to continue going down if we don’t get any flows into the lake," said Mr Maswera in Kariba town, 390km northwest of the capital Harare.

Without any new inflows, the dam would only generate power for the next 165 days, Mr Maswera said.

Supplies from Kariba, which has an installed generating capacity of 750 megawatts (MW), were at 285MW now, he said.

Zimbabwe is importing 300MW of electricity from Eskom and another 40MW from Mozambique, which has eased the power cuts, officials say.

The drought has left 3-million people in need of food aid in Zimbabwe, and farmers in Zimbabwe have lost cattle and crops to drought but fear the worst is yet to come.