Source: ZRA reduces water for power generation | The Herald 25 MAR, 2019
Sydney Kawadza Mash West Bureau Chief
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has reduced water allocated for power generation at Kariba Hydro-Power Station due to falling water levels in the lake shared by both Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The reduction in water allocation means power generation for both Kariba North and South will be reduced from the current 1 476MW to 890MW.
In a statement, ZRA also said all spilling activity is suspended this year.
“Owing to the obtaining below normal rains recorded to date, the inflows into the lake have been below average leading to the lake level at Kariba dropping by over three meters from October 2018 to February 2019,” ZRA said.
“The Lake level is currently 5 metres above the minimum operating level when it should be 8 metres above the minimum operating level at this time of the year.
“The meteorological projections are that most of the Kariba catchment is likely to continue experiencing below normal rains for the remainder of the 2018/2019 rainfall season.”
The Zambezi River Authority’s December 2018 hydrological update indicated a reduction in water allocated for power generation at Kariba Dam in 2018 from 45 billion cubic metres of to 38 billion cubic metres for the year 2019.
“This was as a result of the forecasted normal to below normal rainfall for the period October 2018 to December 2018 by the SADC Climate Services Center, the meteorological departments of Zambia and Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum No. 22 (SARCOF-22).
“As a result, Zambezi River Authority wishes to announce a further reduction in the water allocated for power generation at Kariba from 38 billion cubic metres to 36 billion cubic metres for 2019,” the statement said.
ZRA also said it will continue to monitor the hydrological situation and ensure continued availability of water for power generation at Kariba Dam.
Meanwhile, the Joint Operations Technical Committee in a Weekly Hydrological Bulletin for March 6 said flows into the Zambezi River have continued to rise, though at a reduced pace due to reduced rainfall activities in the basin.
The technical committee is made up of ARA Zambezi (Mozambique), HidroElectrica de Cahora Bassa (Mozambique), Water Resources Management Authority (Zambia), ZRA, Zimbabwe National Water Authority and the Zimbabwe Power Company.
The committee further noted that inflows into Kariba and Kafue Gorge Upper Reservoirs are lower than the outflows and the reservoirs storage is decreasing.
ZRA early this year reduced power generation to around half capacity at their power stations at the Kariba Dam as water levels in the reservoir fell.
Power generation on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides had been restricted to 500MW each from total capacities of around 1 000 MW.