The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) charged ZESCO and the Zimbabwe Power Company US$12,098 million in penalties for over-utilizing water meant for electricity generation at Lake Kariba in the financial year ending 31st December 2021.
This is in line with the provisions of Statutory Instrument Number 109/199 (Water Tariff) by-laws.
As of 31st December 2021, the power utility firms had cumulatively utilised 49.76 billion cubic metres of water.
According to ZRA’s 2021 annual report, the 49.76 billion cubic metres (BCM) translate into 11 per cent above the 2021 combined but equally shared allocation of 45 BCM respectively.
“Kariba North Bank Power Station utilised 25.18 BCM, which was 12 per cent above the 22. 5 BCM water allocation while Kariba South Bank Power Station utilized 24.58 BCM, which is 9 per cent above the 22.5 BCM water allocation,” the report stated.
The annual report further revealed that the impact of the two power utilities exceeding their 2021 water allocation was a drawdown in the lake level from the projected 2021 closing lake level of 19.15 BCM or 30 percent usable storage to the closing level of 2021.
The authority however continued to engage the power utility companies to reduce generation.
ZRA also disclosed that water quality data collection and processing was carried out for some stations on Lake Kariba and the Zambezi River.
The water quality remained within acceptable authority standards.
“The water samples that were analysed during the period under review were observed to be within the authority’s quality guidelines, indicating a healthy aquatic ecosystem,” the report read.