It will take 3 years of rain for Kariba Dam to reach full capacity – ZRA

Kariba Dam
Kariba Dam

Water levels at Lake Kariba remain low at only about 8% usable water despite getting considerable rainfall inflows of water, Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) chief executive, Munyaradzi Munodawafa says.

Mr. Munodawafa stated that it will take three years for the largest man-made dam in the world to reach its maximum capacity.

The ZRA manages the Kariba on behalf of the Governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Addressing the media, Mr. Munodawafa said Lake Kariba currently has 8.36 percent of water usable for power generation.

So far for January 2020, the Lake has received a total of 3.15 billion cubic meters as total inflows, compared to 1.97 billion cubic meters received over the same period last year 2019.

“The relatively high inflows monitored on the Upper Zambezi catchment remain weakened by the rather ‘thirsty’ Barotse and Chobe Flood Plains, resulting in paltry daily increments of about 6-12 m3/s per day at Victoria Falls. This explains why we are at 5.4 billion cubic meters or 8.36 percent usable storage in Lake Kariba as of this morning,” he said.

Mr. Munodawafa said inflows into Kariba last year was 18.84 billion cubic metres, a drop of about 70 percent from the 2018 record.

Kariba Dam, he said, needs at least three years to reach its maximum retention levels.

The average annual inflows into Lake Kariba are in the order of 40 billion cubic meters, meaning, under average conditions, and assuming a generation level in the order of 550 MW requiring approximately 22 billion cubic meters, it would take up to three years of average inflows to fill the lake to maximum retention level,” he said.

Lake Kariba has a capacity of about 180.6 billion cubic meters when full at 488.5 m.

Of this storage capacity, and because of design considerations, it is only the upper layer of approximately 65 billion cubic meters that is available for power generation.


  1. And rains cannot promise to come consistently for a date with us all 3 years!! We urgently need alternative energy sources.

  2. The water levels were too low, but befeore the end of these rain season and now that the water from zambezi is reaching kariba will see a rise in water levels…

  3. Malabish…someone has diverted the water to create panic. Please explain how you have calculated your 3 years theory to fill up this dam? Why does it take a few hours of heavy rain for rivers to burst their banks and yet we have some evangelists telling us it will take 3 year of rain? 3years of what type of rain? showers? monsoon? be serious for once bane!

  4. If I can take three years to fill the dam,how did it took four months for the dam to dry up ? Don’t deceive people for we have in lake areas your theory is biased just say the truth

  5. Useless analysis.This Kariba dam has cracks.Why can’t they just tell the people that they allow water to pass in order to do maintenance.

    Africans full of lies.

  6. Funny Zambians… That analysis from the river authority is flawed. Should have concretely specified the amount of rainfall in 3 years it would take to fill the dam to capacity, otherwise they don’t know if it might rain quite heavily, more than anticipated results, in the next rain season such that the dam might be filled to full capacity.

    Their flawed analysis is just another way of giving early excuses for future failure.

  7. So in other word we are going to have load shedding for the next three years. Possibly more if the rainfall is not adequate in the next three years.

  8. But they have been saying three years for the past three years what calendar do these guys use. and what quantity is now remaining considering what they have received so far and when do you start counting the three years because this has been a song now

  9. Even if it overflows they will still refuse because they will be found out these crooks…they would rather export to neighbouring and misappropriate the funds.

  10. Since when did ZRA become Hydroelectricity experts? I’m not one either but I think for the dam to get filled, the oceans tides will have to rise continually over the next three years. Is this the case? The answer is NO!

    • correction sir ZRA stands for Zambia River Authority and not Zambian Revenue Authority leys get that right(ZRA manages the Kariba dam on behalf of the Zambian and Zimbabwean government). In 2018 wer recve

    • In 2018 we received about 18.84 billion cubic metres of which there’s a drop of 70% compared to this year (3.15 billion cubic metres) of which when you calculate by 3 three which gets you back to the figures of 2018 if the rains continue like this.

  11. @Haha, what has this article got to do with HH. May be let me be clear with you people who like insulting elderly people or leaders. There are curses that God has said will follow those who disrespect parents and elders. Among them are short life, things not going well like failing to get a job when one was the best candidate and many. The strange thing about this is that it doesn’t matter whether the person you are insulting heard you or not. Ala mwilaishamika bane. Respect leaders and elders even if they are not your preferred candidates.

  12. I am pretty sure the old British turbines you replaced with the Chinese ones were generating electricity even with this amount of water ???

    You are not admitting the fact you installed substandard turbines.

  13. And some joker will claim that it is the pf to blame for load shedding and all other consequences of this sad calamity. Let us work together to come up with solutions and enforce them together rather than just criticising day in day out. That is why some of you lose elections day in day out. Kz

  14. We know the joker Mr. Kaiser you are talking about! He thinks PF is “God” who dictates even the weather. We all need to rally behind this working Government. It has done a lot for this country. They are visionary and others are all about themselves. We know what they did when they were privatising. Zambians cannot be fooled.

  15. Boss, load shedding of 5 hours and above is exclusively a pf thing which started just after 2011 so please don’t complain. Also this kariba dam will take 3 years and 4 years to fill story started after the first load shedding of 2012. We are now in 2020, businesses have been killed or are dying but the stories are still there and are now getting boring. Try something else.

  16. Do they know the amount of water that goes into that lake every year for them to say it will take three years to reach full capacity? The fact they are producing statements everyday about that dam shows that they have no clue about what is going on.

  17. A sensible government would by now have rolled out a comprehensive agenda on improving the energy mix of Zambia. It would unlock wind, solar and geothermal sources of energy. But all they know is bye-elections and tribal talk. Too shallow to distinguish between a structural deficit and a temporary shock.

    The energy base needs diversification like other things in Zambia. We depend 90 percent on hydro power.

    By the way, other things will need to diversify is exports (copper); diet (nshima); building (6 inch block); politicians (same old lot).

  18. In 2016 they told us the same thing, that it will take 3 years of good rains for Lake Kariba to fill up to maximum levels but in 2017 and 2018 there was no loadshedding. And this rainy season God has blessed us with a lot of rain. So they should know our expectations

  19. That’s because the wall is leaking. It has cracks in it. How can the water levels rise? It’s like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it and let’s not forget that the turbines are gonga adding further insult to this heinous crime against the people of Zambia.

    No planning. No vision. No hope.

  20. Sorry to say this, but with such ignorant bloggers commenting on issues not understood and then going to the ballot box to vote, I’m afraid Zambia is doomed. I think it is high time folk start using the grey matter upstairs before simply commenting on issues not understood and worse still, then you have *****s who want to bring politics into the mix. Lake Kariba will without any doubt require a minimum of three years of very good rains to fill to 100 percent capacity and the logical reason being very simple, whilst you have good inflows, you also have constant out-flows generating electricity. Further to that, both Zambia and Zimbabwe have increased their number of turbines over and above that of what Kariba was originally designed for, further increasing out-flows. So for those who blog…

  21. Nine Chale, ZRA is Zambezi River Authority. Ala mwe bantu don’t comment before you understand. That’s why people here criticise anything that is written here, they don’t apply critical thinking.

  22. @Mumba, I was afraid to say what you have just said. I read all comments from the top and couldn’t believe the level of ignorance and general failure to comprehend what the technician is saying. It is this low level reasoning and lack of debate etiquette that has seen sensible people quit blogging on this platform and I hope LT has noticed this and is working to improve. Failing to do this, I am afraid LT will be consigned to the same rubbish heap created for the online platforms such as The W*tchDog.

  23. The Kariba Dam is constructed on the Zambezi RIver and hence it is known as the Zambezi (not Zambia although Zambia was named after the Zambazi River) River Authority, ZRA.

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