The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) says the Lake Kariba water level is decreasing steadily and is at 481.07m (39.84% usable storage) as at 30th July 2020.
On the same date in 2019, the Lake level was at 478.87m (23.61% usable storage).
Usable storage, or live water, is the water available for electricity generation purposes. ZRA said in a statement:
The Kariba Lake is designed to operate between levels 475.50m and 488.50m (with 0.70m freeboard) for hydropower generation.
The Lake level has been decreasing steadily closing the period under review [17-30 July 2020] at 481.07m (39.84% usable storage) on 30th July 2020.
Last year on the same date, the Lake level was at 478.87m (23.61% usable storage).
Kariba Lake level is critical in the availability of electricity for Zimbabwe and Zambia since the two countries depend on Kariba Hydro Power plant for power.
ZRA allocates water equally to the two countries, which is reviewed from time to time, depending on the availability of water.
Speaking to The Herald in August last year, when Zimbabwe was experiencing debilitating power cuts due to dwindling water levels at Kariba, ZRA chief executive officer Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said, “If we have good rains upstream of the Zambezi and its tributaries, then we start seeing the water rising from May. If we have sufficient water that leads to water filling in the lake, which means it will be enough for power generation at full capacity for the Kariba South and North power stations.”
However, if water levels are too high to threaten the integrity of the dam wall, then we release water through the floodgates to manage water levels.