Kariba power plant shut down

(Last Updated On: November 28, 2022)




The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has ordered ZESA to shut down Kariba Power Station until January next year after the power utility  exceeded its water allocation.


ZRA, manages the Zambezi River waters and maintains the Kariba Dam complex on behalf of the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a unit of ZESA Holdings and Zambia Electricity Supply Authority (ZESCO),  share  the water resource at Kariba for power generation .

ZPC operates the Kariba South Power Station  while ZESCO manage Kariba North Bank Power Station.


The latest development was confirmed by ZRA CEO, Munyaradzi Munodawafa.


“As of November 25, 2022, Kariba South Bank Power Station had utilized 23.89 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water, accounting for 1.39BCM or 6.16% above the 2022 water allocation of 22.50 BCM,” Munodawafa said.

He added: “Given that the Kariba Reservoir usable storage currently stands at a paltry 2.98 BCM or 4.60% full and that ZESCO Limited still has a positive balance of 2.44 BCM or 10.82% as of November 25, 2022, ZPC’s Kariba Hydroelectric Power Station, no longer has any usable water to continue undertaking power generation operations at Kariba South Bank Power Station.

“With the current performance  of the 2022/23 rainfall season in the Kariba Lower Catchment where the river flows  are yet to improve  and the associated inflows from the Upper Kariba Catchment which will only influence any potential increase  in the lake level at Kariba during the later part of the  first quarter of 2023, it is highly unlikely that there will be any reasonable  inflow augmentation  in the remaining period  of the year 2022, giving little or no chance of improvement  in the reservoir storage  levels.

“If the current water utilization above allocation at Kariba South Bank  Power Station continues , the remaining water  for power generation  at Kariba (live storage) will run out by mid-December 2022 or much earlier.

“Guided by the Water Purchase Agreement  and the provisions of ZRA Acts as well as the Agreed Operational  Framework  under the Joint Technical Committee, where the authority and  the two Kariba power generation utilities  are obligated and have agreed to sustainably  operate the reservoir , ZRA is left with  no choice but to firmly guide that ZPC immediately ensures that  generation activities  at the  Kariba South Bank  Power Station are  wholly suspended  henceforth, until January 2023 when a further review of the substantive hydrological  outlook at Kariba will be undertaken.”




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