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Zim, Zambia, used too much Kariba water - group

Oct 08 2015 19:05
Chris Mfula

Lusaka -The Zambezi River Authority said on Thursday that Zambia and Zimbabwe drew more water than they should have from the Kariba dam to generate electricity.

They drained the dam to 29% of its capacity in September, compared with 70% capacity last year, the group said.

The river authority ordered utilities in the two countries to cut generation in March this year, but the rule was not immediately implemented, said the Engineering Institution of Zambia's president Bernard Chiwala.

Revised threshold

When the EIZ team visited Kariba North Bank power station on July 20, power generation was 760MW instead of 500MW prescribed by the regulator, Chiwala said.

"Despite restrictions on water use, the power utilities continued to generate way above the revised threshold of 500MW leading to a net draw down of the reservoir," Chiwala said.

An electricity shortage and weaker copper prices have put pressure on Zambia's mining industry, threatening output, jobs and economic growth in the southern African nation.

Zambia's energy minister Christopher Yaluma said in September that due to below average rainfall during the 2014/2015 season, water inflow into the reservoir was not enough to meet power generation until the end of 2015.

Cut power supply

Zambia's power generation capacity stands at 2 200MW, with the bulk produced from hydropower, but supply is often erratic.

Zambian power companies and mining firms in August agreed to cut power supply to the mines by 30% due to a power deficit which rose to 985MW in September from 560MW in March.

EIZ is an independent engineering group mandated by law to, among other things, investigate engineering emergencies and suggest remedial measures in the interest of the public.

zambia  |  zimbabwe  |  electricity  |  water
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