Victoria Falls Reporter
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) says notable progress has been made in the development of Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme (BGHES) and Kariba Dam rehabilitation despite negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
ZRA co-board chair, Dr Gloria Magombo, who is also Zimbabwe’s secretary for Energy and Power Development, revealed this in ZRA’s 2020 annual report and financial statement.
She said Kariba Dam maintenance continued to be given priority as prescribed in the standing operating procedures manual, including annual clean up and repair works. Despite the unavoidable delays caused by halting of works, which lasted for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, much of the tasks were executed in good time.
“Kariba Dam rehabilitation work continued throughout the year and the authority made tremendous progress under the two components namely the plunge pool reshaping and spillway gates refurbishment,” she said.
“Completion of plunge pool reshaping has been postponed from December 2021 to May 2024 while spillway gates refurbishment, which commenced in September 2019 will be completed in December 2023.
“The authority made tremendous progress in the planned development of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme preparatory studies, pre-development activities by the developer, land acquisition for the project and mobilisation of project finances,” she said.
Dr Magombo, however, said the authority experienced an adverse liquidity situation due to non-settlement of water sales invoices by Zesco Limited and Kariba Hydro Power Company.
She said foreign exchange control regulations in Zimbabwe also restricted access to the authority’s funds held in commercial banks in the country.
Dr Magombo said ZRA continues to engage the two utilities with a view to ensuring that they settle their outstanding obligations.
“The financial performance during the year under review echoes the deliberate governance efforts, which were aimed at addressing the authority’s mandate of contributing to the economic, industrial and social development of the republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe through the efficient and prudent utilisation of the Zambezi River, along shared border between the two countries,” said Dr Magombo.
“During the year, the authority’s operating income was US$23,70 million compared with the budget of US$19,09 million, giving rise to a favourable variance of 24 percent. This was as a result of the quantum of water available to the two utilities Zesco Limited and Kariba Hydro Power Company.
“The combined water utilisation was 36,92 billion cubic metres against an allocation of 27,00 billion cubic metres.”