Zambezi River Authority orders the closure of South Kariba Bank

 Zambezi River Authority orders the closure of South Kariba Bank

UNSPECIFIED – MARCH 18: Kariba Dam, 1959, hydroelectric dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

 By Staff Writer
The Zambezi River Authority has firmly guided that the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Kariba Hydro Power Company Limited (KHPC) immediately ensure that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended henceforth, until January 2023.

Authority chief executive engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the suspension will be in place until a further review of the substantive hydrological outlook at Kariba is undertaken which will include consideration of the total reservoir live storage build-up which would have resulted from a shutdown of the Kariba South Bank Power Station power generation operations.

In a letter addressed to Zimbabwe Power Company managing director and copied to Zesco managing director, engineer Munodawafa said there is highly unlikely that there will be any reasonable inflow augmentation in the remaining period of the year 2022, giving little or no chance of improvement in the reservoir storage levels during the remaining period of the year 2022 and going into the first quarter of the year 2023.

“Please be advised that as of 25th November 2022, Kariba South Bank Power Station had utilised 23.89 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) of water, accounting for 1.39 BCM (or 6.16%) above the 2022 water allocation of 22.50 BCM.

Given that the Kariba Reservoir usable storage currently stands at a paltry 2.98 BCM or 4.60% full, and that ZESCO Limited still has a positive balance of 2.44BCM (10.82%) as of 25th November 2022, ZPC/KHPC no longer has any usable water to continue undertaking power generation operations at Kariba South Bank Power Station.With the current performance of the 2022/2023 rainfall season in the Kariba Lower Catchment where the river flows are yet to improve and the associated inflows from the Upper Kariba Catchment which will only influence any potential increase in the Lake Level at Kariba during the latter part of the first quarter of 2023,” the letter read

Engineer Munodawafa said if the current water utilisation above allocation at Kariba South Bank Power Station continues the remaining water for power generation at Kariba (will run out by mid-December 2022 or much earlier.

“Guided by the Water Purchase Agreement and the provisions of the ZRA Acts, as well as the agreed Reservoir Operational Framework under the Joint Technical Committee (JTC), where the Authority and the two Kariba Power Generation Utilities are obligated and have agreed to sustainably operate the reservoir, the Zambezi River Authority is left with no choice but to firmly guide that ZPC/KHPC immediately ensures that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended henceforth, until January 2023 when a further review of the substantive Hydrological Outlook at Kariba will be undertaken which will include consideration of the total reservoir live storage build-up which would have resulted from a shutdown of the Kariba South Bank Power Station power generation operations,” he said.