Zim, Zambia plan optimum Zambezi River use

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Harare (New Ziana) – The Zambezi River Authority, which controls the joint use of the mighty river by Zambia and Zimbabwe, has said optimum electricity generation along the Zambezi River could easily ensure self-sufficiency in the whole Southern African Development Community region.

ZRA chief executive, Eng. Munyaradzi Munodawafa said construction of additional dams and hydro-generation plants at key points along the River such as the Batoka and Devil’s Gorges will go a long way in realising the full power generation potential of the river.

“The energy potential of the Zambezi River is about 21 GW of hydro-electricity,” he said.

“Currently, there is only 2 292Mw [installed capacity] at Kariba North and South Power Stations as well as at the Victoria Falls Power Station.”

Munodawafa said current pre-construction works for the 2 400 megawatt Batoka Gorge Hydro Power Scheme, were progressing well.

“The ZRA is finalising outstanding issues with the consortium of GE and Power China, the project developer who will implement the project on a Build-Operate-Transfer model. Completion of pre-construction investigations at the project site has also been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

It is anticipated that the Batoka project will create over 4 000 direct and 6 000 indirect jobs and generate revenue of over US$750 million annually.

The power generated from the plant will be shared equally by Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Meanwhile, Munodawafa said the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam wall was also on course.

“We anticipate that the Plunge Pool reshaping work will be completed by 2023 while works on the spillway could be completed by 2025, but critical dam monitoring and maintenance works will continue post the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project,” he said.

The Zambezi River Authority is an organization jointly owned by the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe mandated with managing the Kariba Dam, providing water for hydro-power generation as well as facilitating and overseeing the development of infrastructure along the Zambezi River for the benefit of the two countries.

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