Kariba Dam still far from reaching normal operating levels – Simbaya
By Lame Itisen
KARIBA North Bank Power Station manager Edward Simbaya says the Kariba Dam is still far from reaching normal operating levels to generate electricity at full capacity.
Briefing Southern Province minister Edify Hamukale who visited the station on Thursday, Simbaya said water levels had been rising by three centimeters per day since the first week of January.
He said the water levels were expected to increase by four meters this year if normal rains continue.
“Now the water levels are at 287.8 meters. What it means is that we still need to move up over five metres or close to seven metres. So we are still very far to reach to the normal operating water levels. But the good thing is we seem to be having some promising results this year. This year, the water levels started rising much earlier than last year. This year, they started rising in the first week of January on an average height of three centimeters per day compared to last year when the water levels started rising towards the end of February. So if it continues to rain like this, probably we will appreciate somewhere between three to four metres and may be if it rains well next year again, then we will be catching up,” said Simbaya.
And Hamukale said Zesco needed support to ensure the Kariba power station begins to generate electricity at full capacity.
“We need to ensure that Zesco is supported, that they accumulate sufficient water and therefore, all other water users should be conscious of the fact that there is so much more important need of water which is the electricity generation. But as we have been advised, agriculture activities can be downstream after the water has generated electricity…the same water can generate electricity and then thereafter further downstream can be used for other activities. So we can build this ecosystem of industry to support Siavonga and to encourage investors to come to this part of Zambia and help improve the economy and the lives of our people,” said Hamukale.