via Kariba Dam wall safe, says Mavhaire | The Herald March 26, 2014 by Walter Nyamukondiwa
ZIMBABWE and Zambia yesterday said the Kariba Dam wall is stable following a tour of the infrastructure by senior Government officials from the two countries. Some media reports had suggested the dam wall could collapse within three years. Zimbabwe was represented by Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire during the tour.
The two countries, separated by the Zambezi River, said everything was being done to ensure routine maintenance and repair and more than $16 million has been provided so far this year to that end.
About US$230 million is needed in the short-to-medium term to work on the plunge pool that absorbs shock when flood gates are opened. Erosion of the plunge pool can threaten the foundation of the dam wall.
From an initial depth of about 10 metres, falling water has eroded the plunge pool at some points to about 80 metres. The deepest point is about 125 metres from the wall.
Other areas that need attention are installation of an emergency gate and refurbishment of the spillway gate.
“The dam wall is equipped with several instruments which monitor its well-being and safety.
“The analysis of data from these instruments coupled with visual inspections, observations and evaluation of the dam safety in line with current practices in dam engineering give early warning signs of potential risks to the safety of Kariba Dam wall long before they occur,” Minister Mavhaire said.
He said tender designs for the projects had been finalised and work would begin in 2015.
Reshaping of the plunge pool is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 and refurbishment of the spillway will take about six years as only one gate can be worked on per year.
A technical committee has been set up to monitor and recommend action on what needs to be done.
Zambian Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Mr Chris Yaluma said the two governments were mobilising funds for maintenance and refurbishment.
“We have approached various co-operating partners.
“There are no concrete positions taken as yet but there is interest to assist. Maintenance is an on-going process. As governments we are moving swiftly to look into mobilising the funds needed,” he said.
Mr Yaluma said there was no need for anyone to panic as the dam wall would not collapse overnight.