Minister of Energy Mathew Nhkuwa has disclosed that government is exploring various measures aimed at mitigating the energy crisis that the country is facing.

Mr Nhkuwa noted that the current electricity deficits caused by the low water levels in most hydro generating water resources is an indication that the country needs to explore and tap into other potential energy sites.

He told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today, that to this effect plans are underway by government, to start tapping water from the Congo River, through the Zambezi River source, using canals, into the Kariba, Itezhi-tezhi and Kafue gorge hydro power stations among others.

The Minister explained that the move is expected to caution the power shortages by increasing generation capacity to about 400 megawatts.

“We know that the demand for power has continued to increase and we are not sitting back, but we have come up with an immediate measure which is to tap water from the Congo River through the Zambezi River source into the Kariba, Kafue gorge and Itezhi-tezhi dams which is much cheaper than setting up new hydro power stations,” he said.

Mr Nhkuwa noted that tapping water from the Congo River is the immediate solution to the energy challenges, adding that the process is cost effective, because it will use the already existing infrastructure, compared to the construction of new power generating stations which are expensive.

He disclosed that the Ministry of Energy is tomorrow scheduled to hold a meeting with Acting Republican President Inonge Wina on the issue, before embarking on visibility studies.

And Energy Forum Zambia Chairperson Johnston Chiwanda said the current power deficits are an indication that the country cannot depend on hydro power generation for a long time.

Mr Chikwanda observed that Zambia’s potential of hydro-electric generation is facing serious threats due to adverse effects of climate change, hence the need to find lasting solutions to the problem.

“The days of depending on hydro-electric generation are numbered due to frequent adverse climate changes, we can no longer depend on hydro for electricity generation as a long term measure therefore we should diversify, “he noted

He explained that the statement by ZESCO and Zambezi River Authority that water in Lake Kariba has reached the lowest in 24 years is an indication that there is a likelihood of a further reduction in generation consequently affecting the economic activities due increased load shedding.

Mr Chiwanda further pointed out that it is necessary for Zambians to embrace other sources of energy prospect of introducing nuclear energy in the energy mix as a sustainable long term option for future generations.

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50 COMMENTS

  1. You run dry your rivers due poor management of your watersheds (e.g. Forest Reserve 27 ) and then run to your neighbours’ water systems! Warped thinking indeed.

    You think DRC will be so foolish to run dry their Inga Dam on account of your mischievous deeds in Zambia?

    Shame on you!

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    • There is too much money that has been invested in the hydro infrastructure to abandon them and become white elephants. We however need to use the water that is available efficiently. For example, the construction of the Batoka Dam will mean that the same water will be used twice, i.e. to generate electricity at Batoka Gorge and at Kariba Dam. The construction of additional dams upstream of the Itezhitezhi Dam to store more water should be explored. In addition there is provision to increase the reservoir capacity by increasing the dam height by a metre at Itezhitezhi Dam. This water will generate 120MW at Itezhitezhi Dam, and the same water will generate 900MW at Kafue Gorge Upper and 750MW at Kafue Gorge Lower. Afterwards this water can be diverted through a canal to Kariba Dam by…

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    • ……by gravity because Kafue Gorge is higher than Kariba Gorge. The idea of draining water from Luapula River to Kafue River should also be explored (first suggested by Simon Zukas). Although there are a number of hydropower sites on the Luapula River these can only be developed in conjunction with the DRC. However the DRC is more interested in the Inga Dam Site which has the hydropower potential of 40,000MW almost twenty times what Zambia currently consumes

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    • This story is confusion. What is tapping water? Why source water from Congo?? The Congo River gets its water from Luapula which emerges from a lake that the Lualaba feeds why would it be easier to tap water from the Congo River and not from Lake Mweru, or bangweulu? Isnt this a way of confusing Zambians while someone steals money for an in existent project?

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  2. When I made this suggestion a few years ago on FB, an ‘engineer’ made fun of the suggestion. I was only rescued by a Zambian hydrologist based in Australia. Zambia should start using canals to our advantage. In Asia and South America, canals are used extensively. An impact assessment and a due diligence just need to be undertaken

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  3. It is better we tap water from Luapula as compared to Congo as it will take years to conclude the deal and also it will bring a lot of benefits to the country to have a canal running in the contry

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  4. It is sad that a Minister who is in charge of policy matters and who has Technocrats to advise him can come up with such a mammoth and expensive suggestion. Let us continue dreaming fellow Zambians. With such people at the helm of our country, we are going nowhere!!

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  5. Mwebantu please! Lekani kutisekesa.
    We know it can be done but the money involved for such a project is just too much compared to setting up solar farms across the country. We been finding it had to pay for the Kazungula bridge you want to start a canal?
    Whats the nearest distance between Zambezi river and Congo river? My guess is around a 1200KM, just slightly less than the Grand canal, but still a great distance. Environmental impact alone is not worth it regardless of how power you will possibly generate.
    All the money that can go into such a project can build a Nuclear power station and half.
    Immediate means now, not 5 years from now, and with solar power our energy crisis can be mitigated handled within a year.

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  6. Useless reckless govt of Lazy Lungu…they have no proper management where are the foooools who were celebrating the end of load shedding.

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  7. He calls this an “immediate solution”? Sure boss….

    Honestly, these people expect to be taken seriously? Imagine.

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  8. If there are rivers in Zambia which do not run dry why not use them to this effect, dependency on neighbours can be costly and tricky , if Luapula province or other provinces have such rivers why not tap water from those areas.
    Zambians we must be free enough to think broader than fixing our eyes only on one source, since we know that we have reached at the point of population explosion better we other sources of energy from multiple areas in the country.
    It is only population but all that go with development and industrialisation better to spread our wings and glide highier than before.
    That is my own opinion

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  9. Kikiki!!!! Ndiye Kulubana uku manje. Yaba. And he thinks it will be free. Congo water K1m per month to generate power worth only K5,000. Does this make sense. Paying moe than you can yield.
    When did we stop celebrating the end of load shedding.
    Disaster!!!!

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  10. A feasible idea BUT WRONGLY TAKEN,THIS CANNOT BE A ONE MAN(ONE STATE) SHOW!! DRC is SADC&COMESA member and so is Zimbabwe and other Zambezi River basin countries belonging to SADC.Countries like Namibia,Botswana,Zimbabwe’s Matebeleland and parts of S.Africa would like to tap water from the Zambezi BUT for diminishing volumes and competing needs!!The Congo River can bridge the deficit and meet all competing needs!IF SUCH A PROJECT IS TAKEN AS A REGIONAL ONE,IT WOULD BECOME EASIER AND CHEAP TO IMPLEMENT

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  11. Continued..as SADC,we can tap the water after the Inga Dam,pour it into Zambezi tributaries via Angola,then flow into the Zambezi.I believe WE DONT NEED TO DISTURB THE ZAMBEZI SOURCE! WE ALSO HAVE TO MINDFUL OF THE ECOLOGICAL IMPACT AS THE WATER COMES FROM A DIFFERENT ZONE! As a region we need to move fast on this as other regions are also eyeing those waters; THERE HAS BEEN TALK TO REFILL LAKE CHAD USING CONGO RIVER CHIARI RIVER!!SO THE EARLY BIRD..

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  12. Senior Engineer RTD kudos for very practical suggestions. Unfortunately, who listens? We need to explore multiple use of the same water to generate additional power. Diverting the kafue by gravity would raise the water levels at Karina and the distance is much less

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  13. How will the water travel uphill? Over 1500 km? Has anybody checked a map please, show us at least where the canal will be (ignoring war). Then Inonge another claim that Batoka Gorge is completed

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  14. @ Maganizo and senior engineer. I support your opinions to tap water from the Luapula and pour it into the Kafue. Shortest distance is about 100Km from the the mwanawasa bridge area up to the Kafue river close to mufulira. The Kariba extension was a disaster, Zambia added more generators in parallel and Zimbabwe did the same and expecting to get the same volume of feed water to drive the turbines. We should have done like what the American did in the 30’s when they built more than 15 big dams on the Colorado river and more than 100 on the Colorado’s tributaries.

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    • Feeding the Kafue will not help Kariba and Batoka, only Itezhi-tezhi and Cabora Bassa… Just saying

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  15. As a nation we are just good at talking and actions.
    This just another pipe dream never to be spoken of again until we have some more black outs.

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  16. This is a strange and preposterous proposal by the minister ! Who gives these politicians advise?

    The last time I checked the Congo river does not flow through Zambia. The minister is concerned about seeking authority from the Vice President for feasibility studies to tap water from a river in a foreign country- is he okay?

    The a huge chunk of the catchment area for the the Zambezi river is in Angola and Western Province. The idea is naive and impractical, both from a financial and geographical perspectives.

    The low lying fruit at the moment is to build additional coal fired power stations at Maamba. It might not be environmentally friendly , but we have no option at the moment.

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  17. Comment: PF and their campaign strategies! Where is the cheaper Saudi Arabia crude oil? Where are the 500,000 jobs? When did you open Mulungushi textiles? Where are the lower taxes? Last but not least, where the heck is our more money in the pockets? Such a gigantic project can only be successfully carried out by the private sector not a corrupt government like PF, Boza! Besides, such a project can take 5 to 7 years to complete, how then are you going to do it when 2021 is Kayak Aya?

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  18. Taping water from the Congo is NOT a feasible idea for the following reasons: (1) Congo and Zambezi rivers are separated by a great African Watershed and cutting a channel through it is costly. (2) It is best for SADC to realise the development of Inga I and Inga II Hydroelectric Projects on Congo R. from which power can be connected to Southern Africa. (3) Historically the Benguella Rail line from Ndola through Congo to Angola has never functioned due to persistent instability in the Congo DR. (4) Zambia can generate 2 power projects on the Kalungwishi R with similar plans as effected along Kafue Gorge. THE IDEA MUST BE REJECTED.

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  19. If 50 % of all households converted to solar we would not need water from the Congo. Many countries have banned grid dependant geysers and only approve solar geysers. Zambia is now the dumping ground for these power inefficient geysers…shame !

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  20. Ebola enhanced Hydro Power………Okay, you can find use for all things good or bad!

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  21. Zambia has abundant sunshine. We should be investing in exploiting this all year round natural resource. However we are waiting for the white man to do this research and development for us.

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  22. Why another feasibility study when one was done many years ago by the Israelis for the then new MMD government?
    Let’s just admit we are Africans who lack foresight and vision! We only do last minute planning which is dangerous!
    Just a 60km channel or pipeline could have continuously fed Kariba with Congo basin water! Look for that Feasibility Study Report and action it. Furthermore, think of many alternatives to Hydro power like Thermal Power, Solar, Wind and lastly Nuclear!

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  23. Let look at the problem realistically.
    The lazy government should consult professionals for advise rather than political rooted ideas whose sole aim is to benefit on tenders.
    50 years of independence no long term plan projects.SHAME!

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  24. Let us utilize and invest on rivers in Luapula and Northern Provinces. Zambia can generate its power on the Kalungwishi and Luapula rivers etc. Tap water from lake Bangweulu into Kafue or Luangwa rivers and not DRC and also Chambeshi river. Let the project be done on Zambian Waters. This will reduce on hidden taxes and costs environmental impact when you get water from DRC. Let the Minister think of reducing taxes on solar products so that we can manage to install solar power on our individual homes and do away with ZESCO which can be left for industrial purposes.

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  25. Why go to Congo why not tap from the Chambeshi River, it’s completely in Zambia and issues of dealing with another foriegn country won’t arise. It’s important to look widely at other options etc. Forget about what you have invested in Kariba and other points which have no future becauae of decreasing water and begin to look else where. Otherwise you will spend so much on tapping from Congo than what you could have spent on a new initiative

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    • Well said Joe. Actually Chambeshi is the source of the nile river. Google Chambeshi river. Stanley actually documented this but some foolhardy out of selfish needs, interests and recognition oblitered this cardinal information but there’s group of marine scientists who are hellbent on proving that indeed the Chambeshi river is the source of the nile river not fimo fimo river from DRC.

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  26. Bekalefye.They have failed to trace the owner of the 48 houses can they really tap water over a strech of 2000km? PF is a failed project

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  27. They have no idea how canals work. Canal do not flow like rivers. They are not cheap to maintain. You need a system of locks to move water. Stop dreaming or just wake up you effing clueless ministers.

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  28. Why only rely on water for energy generation?
    In the long run we need to explore on more energy generation sources, we have 2 escarpment, Muchinga and Zambezi where wind speeds especially in August are high enough to generate energy.
    We have a lot of days in a year with low cloud cover meaning we have enough sunlight to generate electricity.
    Getting water from Congo River is a huge risk for our marine life.

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  29. Chambeshi river is a source of the Congo river nit the Nile river. It could be said to be the beginning of the Congo rivet basin. There is a video documentary to this effect.

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  30. Ba Chenda Munenge, the source of the Nile R. originates from Uganda’s sector of Lake Victoria. Indeed Keith is correct to say that the source of the Congo is the Chambeshi River which flows into Lake Bangweulu from where it changes into Luapula River, which discharges its water into Lake Mwelu. This lake spills its water into Lualaba River which ultimately becomes Congo River. Since Districts of Mwense and Nchelenge are part of the Lakes Albert-Tanganyika-Mwelu Rift Valley system situated at much lower elevation (altitude) compared to the Zambezi River source that is located on the plateau, it is impossible to drive water from the Congo system up-slope to the plateau. Civil Engineering Depts at CBU, Mulungushi and Unza must provide technical advice to the Government with regards the…

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    • You got the water direction wrong!! Water flows from lake Mweru to Lake Bangueulu, not the other way. Phew!!

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  31. Civil Engineering Depts at CBU, Mulungushi and Unza must provide technical advice to the Government with regards the nature of topography in Central Africa. The Chambeshi-Luapula-Congo system discharges water to the Atlantic Ocean, whereas the Zambezi river and its tributaries (Kafue, Luangwa, Shire) discharges water to the Indian Ocean. Alteration of major drainage system would result into a regional catastrophe. Zambian rivers can sustain perennial flow by conserving forests and woodlands which capture available annual rainfall to raise water tables. High water tables can also provide water for irrigation systems. ANSWER = STOP CHARCOAL BURNING.

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  32. The minister is day dreaming. He should ask professionals before opening a mouth. The minister is our leader, that does not means he know all.

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  33. It really sad to note such a supposedly educated population can fail to advise the Hon. Minister properly.
    1. It is not possible to drain water from the Congo to the source of the Zambezi, reason being the Congolese will not allow it period
    2. Any hydrologist will tell you that there is no gradient there. Even if you dug a very expensive canal, which channel will you use to contain the required volume to reach the Kariba Dam, unless you build a 10.0 mtr diameter pipe all the way from source. But where will such water come from ?
    3. Since negotiations with Congo can never ever come to fruition in this matter, and rightly so, consider only 2 possibilities of getting more water for both Kafue Gorge and Kariba Dam.
    4. Dig an expensive channel from Luapula just above Tuta Bridge passing…

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  34. passing Mkushi and Kapiri Mposhi into Lukanga Swamps to boost Kafue River water to Itezhi Tezhi Dam where flow can regulated and controlled to feed Kafue Gorge.
    5. Dig another expensive channel across a water shed just before Itezhi – Tezhi Dam to the Kalomo River and that will be your additional supply to the Kariba Dam. Even if we share the Kariba Dam with Zimbabwe , Forget it Zimbabwe will not contribute any additional water, they have nothing.

    I hope someone from the Ministries of Energy and of Water Affairs is taking note.
    Learn something Bane, Ala tabansoni ! Kabili ichisosa nacho chipa amano ! !

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