Kariba Dam
Kariba Dam

Bloomberg reports that Zambia has reduced hydropower production at the Kariba Dam because of rapidly declining water levels at the world’s biggest man-made reservoir that straddles the border with Zimbabwe, the energy minister said.

“We have noted the poor water situation for the Zambezi system necessitating reduction in generation at Kariba,” Matthew Nkhuwa said, without providing further details.

Water outflows through the turbines at Kariba, which shows how much power they’re producing, has been cut by 27 percent this month.

The dam has dropped to 43 percent of capacity from 85 percent in October, as inflows from the Zambezi River that feeds it dwindle.

Flows at Victoria Falls about 120 kilometers (75 miles) upstream are less than half of what they were a year ago, and near a record low for this time of the year, according to data from the Zambezi River Authority, which manages the dam.

Still, water supplies at other hydroelectric facilities in the country have been favorable, including at Kafue Gorge, the second-biggest power plant in Zambia, Nkhuwa said in reply to emailed questions. These will cover any shortages at Kariba, and the government doesn’t foresee power cuts as a result, he said.

The depletion of Kariba’s waters is “very troubling,” said Will Pearson, a director at U.S.-based advisory company Triskel.

“The levels at Kariba’s reservoir have fallen dramatically in recent months, and the situation will likely exacerbate,” he said by email.

“Unlike Zambia’s last power crisis only three years ago, the ability to tap regional markets will be limited by the power shortage hitting South Africa and the arrears Zesco owes for previous emergency imports from Mozambique and to domestic suppliers.”

Mines in Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, account for more than half of electricity demand and any shortages could cut output of the metal.

If there are extensive shortages, this could hit the mining industry and add to the likelihood of cuts to copper production this year, Pearson said. Companies including First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and Glencore Plc operate mines in Zambia.

The Kariba hydropower station is Zambia’s biggest electricity source, with capacity of 1,080 megawatts out of state-owned electricity supplier Zesco Ltd.’s total of 2,337 megawatts. The southern African nation suffered a power crisis with rolling blackouts lasting as long as 12 hours when Kariba’s water levels showed a similar drop in 2015.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Oh no, God help us, back to load shedding??

    “Flows at Victoria Falls about 120 kilometers (75 miles) upstream are less than half of what they were a year ago, and near a record low for this time of the year…”
    Chieftainness mukuni performing rituals for his trib.al obviously. …… Calls for urgent national prayers to counteract this trib.al. Bane start praying hard in your homes, this is a great evil power, but will succumb to power of prayer…..

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    • You 1d1oits in Zambia were told that the new equipment is using close to 200 percent more water to produce the same power. Go Back and buy more expensive German turbines where you will not be able to btibe and save the nation. Futseke

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    • I’m in Zambia and what I’m seeing is very different from this usual international misinformation news. It has been raining cats and dogs and all rivers are full with some close to overflowing.
      I don’t understand why these guys keep reporting falsehoods. Even Victoria falls is almost at its full strength, if they are cutting down on power generation then it is not because of the water level of Zambezi and Kariba, that is a blue lie, more likely us in Zambia have developed alternative power generation points such as at Itezhi Itezi and Maamba Thermal plant therefore the demand on Kariba is only to cater mainly for the Zimbabwe side side hence the said reduction.

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    • But news media yamu Zambia ili useless
      You are relying on someone in the US to tell you what is going on in your own country! Bloomberg is thousands of kilometers away from Zambia. LT DeadNBC Times daily nation etc are all here. They can’t go to the offices of concerned officials and experts to get comments?

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    • ka Cat-Power, ***** iwe! You choose to believe alarmists Bloomberg with their twisted facts with hidden agenda! Come down to get facts, arm-chair critic, stupd idiolt.

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  2. Climate change is the cause and not Mukuni. God will not answer your prayers for as long as your heart remains dark and angry at other tribes for reasons best known to you alone. If anything, these challenges might be God’s way of showing disapproval of the manner in which our country is being managed. Repent first bapompwe.

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    • Climate change climate change but we are a Christian nation with relations with Israel so why doesn’t God shield us from such foreseeable problems?

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    • Maybe God shields us in giving us a brain to think of solutions and strong hands to do the work needed to fix it.

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  3. Divert and invest in solar energy .stop the zambia zim hydro power project
    And use that money on big solar project.

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  4. Unfortunately the flash floods that have befallen Northern and Eastern Provinces resulting in bridges being washed away do not contribute to the waters of Lake Kariba. North Western province the major contributor to the waters of Lake kariba has been conspicously quiet.

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  5. Falsehoods meant to continue tarnishing countries image and create discontent. Why respond to an email and who is Mathew Nkhuwa to speak on behalf of ZESCO to foreign media? Especially Bloomberg? He should be retired on national interest. Another national economic saboteur.

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  6. Back again to the issues of installing cheap inefficient Chinese turbines…they lied about..its coming to haunt them!!

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  7. Ba *****s aba ba Mafi, ba pfools.they are the ones who put us in this mess. Because, they trusted cheap Chinese *****s turbines.

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  8. if you go to the zra.org site (Zambezi River authory ) you will see water levels are very low, this is a Zambian site, the reason the lake is low after a record high last year is the new Chinese turbines are poorly designed and the chins added extra turbines, the original British turbines were far more efficient also there was only 4 now there is 8 so simple science if you have a bucket with 4 holes and another with 8 and the same amount of inflow which will empty first. Chinese just copy not invent.

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