THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) says the excavation of the plunge pool, a key component of the Plunge Pool reshaping sub-project of the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project, has been successfully completed.
In total, about 750 000 tonnes of rock have been excavated coupled with the stabilisation of 20 000m² of slopes using anchors and shot-crete.
The Plunge Pool reshaping works contract, supervised by ZRA with Gruner Stucky, a Swiss company as technical partner, is being financed through a grant from the European Union.
The National Authorising Office of the European Development Fund under the Finance and National Planning ministry (Zambia) contracted the services of Razel-Bec, a French company, as the contractor.
It commenced work in 2017.
“While the excavation works are now 100% complete, the overall project is now 93% complete. In total, 550 000m3 of water (99% of the plunge pool volume) have been pumped out of the 80m deep plunge pool,” ZRA chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa said in a statement yesterday.
“As 2023 draws to a close, we commence the final phase of this extraordinary engineering marvel and remain focused on the upcoming challenges related to the strengthening of the geological fault zone that is located immediately downstream of the dam.
“This will be achieved through constructing a reinforced concrete slab that will cover the weak-rock zone to protect it from possible future erosion.”
He said no environmental, health and safety standards were violated despite the high-risk nature of the project
“Upon completion of this concreting work, the plunge pool will be rewatered (re-filled with water). This refilling will not in any way affect river levels downstream,” he said.
The project seeks to widen and change the shape of the 80m plunge pool which was created by the immense pressure of the ejected water jets during spilling episodes. The Plunge Pool Reshaping Project is expected to be completed next year.