The water levels at Lake Kariba have continued to fall, with usable storage at 5.63% as of 21 November 2021, compared to 26.88% recorded on the same date last year.
The low water levels might worsen power shortages in the country as the hydroelectric power plant is Zimbabwe’s only reliable power station.
The power plant has a generation capacity of 2 130 megawatts split between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
According to the latest Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) weekly hydrology report, the lake level has been decreasing due to low inflows from the mainstream Zambezi River. Reads the report:
The Kariba Lake is designed to operate between levels 475.50m and 488.50m (with 0.70m freeboard) for hydropower generation.
The Lake level has been decreasing steadily on account of low inflows from the mainstream Zambezi River, closing the period under review at 476.31m (5.63% usable storage) on 21st November 2022, compared to 479.32m (26.88% usable storage) recorded on the same date last year.
Water Level Falling Faster
Kariba Dam water is shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia and is managed by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), an agency jointly controlled by the two nation’s governments.
Both Zimbabwe and Zambia have built extra hydropower turbines at Kariba in the past decade, which release more water downstream.