ZRA guarantees power from Kariba as rehab project reaches crucial stage

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Harare (New Ziana) –Electricity generation at the Kariba hydro-power station will not be interrupted by the current de-watering of the plunge pool, which is set to be reshaped to further strengthen the dam wall, as the ongoing rehabilitation works reach a significant phase, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has said.

The Kariba Dam wall rehabilitation project, which commenced in 2017, involves reshaping the plunge pool and refurbishing the spillway gates to ensure longevity of the dam.

In an update, the ZRA said after completing construction of the temporary cofferdam and working together with the contractor, Razel Bec, it commenced the Kariba Dam Plunge Pool dewatering process on Thursday last week, marking a significant phase of the project.

The ZRA said the water pumping operations were progressing well and that the controlled volumes of water being discharged from the plunge pool would not lead to any drastic changes in river levels.

“Further, the authority wishes to assure the general public that as the de-watering exercise continues, operations at the Kariba North Bank and Kariba South Bank Power stations will not in any way be affected by the on-going works,” it said.

“The first 10 meters draw-down of the water-level in the plunge pool is expected to be achieved by 15th July, 2022. This is a very significant milestone in respect of the plunge pool reshaping works component of the Kariba dam rehabilitation project.

“This important exercise, which is a prerequisite to the plunge pool reshaping works, is vital and will enable the contractor to effectively execute the excavation works in dry conditions.”

On Monday, the power station, the biggest power plant in Zimbabwe with a total generation capacity of 1050MW, was churning out 833 megawatts.

The authority, which manages the Kariba Dam on behalf of the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments, said the re-shaping of the plunge pool would help minimise erosion which can undercut the dam foundations.

The rehabilitation project is expected to be completed in 2024.

The US$294 million project is being funded by the European Union, World Bank, African Development Bank, the government of Sweden, and the ZRA on behalf of the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe, through a combination of grants and loans.
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