Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Government Takes Measures to Mitigate Seasonal Low Water Levels at Kariba Dam with Rehabilitation Project


The Kariba Dam, a crucial source of hydroelectric power for the country, was facing a dire situation. Water levels at the North Bank had fallen to the lowest levels in history due to the negative effects of climate change. This posed a serious threat to the country’s power generation and the overall social and economic wellbeing of the nation.

This is according to a statement released by the Ministry of Information and Media

In response, the government took swift action to address the issue. They initiated a rehabilitation project for the Kariba Dam, with the goal of mitigating the seasonal low water levels.

The construction of a cofferdam, which would allow the reshaping of the plunge pool in dry conditions while still allowing power generation to continue, was completed on schedule. The actual reshaping of the plunge pool had begun and was set to be finished by the first quarter of 2024. The sub-project was already 74% complete.

In addition to the plunge pool reshaping, the refurbishment of the dam’s six spillway gates was also underway. Two of the gates were at an advanced stage of refurbishment, with preparations for the third gate underway. Overall, the spillway gate refurbishment sub-project was over 52% complete and set to be completed by the first quarter of 2025.

The Kariba catchment area was divided into two sub-catchments: the Kariba lower catchment and the Kariba upper catchment. The lower catchment, which comprised three rivers (Sanyati, Gwayi, and Ume), provided inflow into Lake Kariba during the months of October, November, and December. Meanwhile, the main stream Zambezi River in the Kariba upper catchment influenced the lake’s levels during the first quarter of the following year.

Unfortunately, the current rainfall season had seen below-average flows from the three rivers of the Kariba lower catchment, leading to the low lake levels. However, hydrological projections informed by rainfall projections from the Meteorological Department suggested that the Kariba upper catchment river flows would start causing increased lake levels as the first quarter of 2023 progressed.

Thanks to the government’s proactive measures, including the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam, there was hope that the negative impacts of climate change on the country’s power generation and overall well-being could be mitigated.


  1. Ba Lipota your first paragraph is supposed to be in what is called Present tense because those events are happening now. You need to evoke a sense of urgency in the nation. Government and politicians and people who have decided to put Eng. before their names although doing nothing with the qualification, need to respond-with action. Such problems as we are facing are supposed to be a challenge for any proud local scientist not reserved for expatriates

  2. Part of the solution should be to ask the mighty PF to ask its members to go and pee into the Kariba dam for that was their proposal before the August 2021 elections

  3. The UPND government must prioritize investment in renewable energy like Solar power.
    A basic 200MW PV Solar Plant plus transmission line costs $350 million. Zambia already has 2 such projects in the works in Serenje and Kalulushi.
    Just 3 more of these projects will give Zambia over 1,000 MW extra capacity in less than 2 years.
    Projects like the Batoka Gorge Hydro power Dam(1,200 MW shared) will still greatly suffer from the effects of low rainfall , take over 7 years to complete and cost Zambia a whooping $4.2 billion. Besides its Zimbabwe that desperately needs the Batoka Gorge dam and not Zambia.

  4. A non article!!!! The low water levels are caused by increasing the generating capacity in spite of the limit that Kariba can sustain,
    The water levels have fallen for the whole of Kariba ,,, Not just the North bank!
    The rehabilitation has nothing to do with migating the effects of climate change it is to stop Kariba collapsing.

  5. Independent and Kalulu are both correct nothing to do with resent repairs and out flow has increased but inflow has not, interesting to note Cabora Basa dam down stream is 94% full and producing at full capacity, work that one out. Go solar the sun rises everyday 7 days a week and use hydro water power for night use.

  6. This article has obviously been put together by people that do not know much about this subject, and have not done their research properly.
    Firstly the author states “Water levels at the North Bank had fallen to the lowest levels in history due to the negative effects of climate change.” which is simply not true. Water levels are directly due to the amount of water used in the turbines, and it us overuse of that which has led to this situation. Poor management!
    Secondly, all these works wil have no effect at all of “mitigating the seasonal low water levels.” They are purely very expensive repairs and rehabilitation.
    I previously submitted an article, published here in the Lusaka Times, under the title “Is Zambia short of water for power generation? What can be done about it?”…

  7. The management of the Kariba Hydroelectric Power facility and the projected development of a hydro-power project at Batoka Gorge are joint responsibilities of the Zambian and Zimbabwean Govts through the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority. Hence, these are shared facilities in terms of financial costs.

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