The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has increased the volume of water allocated for power generation operations at Kariba Dam for 2021 by three billion cubic meters (3 BCM).
This comes after ZRA granted an additional 12 billion cubic meters (12BCM) of water to Zambia’s ZESCO Limited (ZESCO) and ZESA Holdings’ power generating subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC). Said ZRA chief executive officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa:
Consequently, the 2021 allocation increased from the initial combined allocation of 30BCM granted at the commencement of 2021 to 42 BCM.
As a result of this decision, the two utilities have effectively been allocated a combined total of 45 BCM of water for 2021, with each utility expected to utilise a total of 22.5BCM for its respective power generation operations at Kariba for the year.
The Authority’s decision to further increase the 2021 water allocation is premised on the provisions of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Acts which provide for the regulation of the Kariba Reservoir in liaison with the two power generation utilities.
The provisions of the ZRA Acts have subsequently been operationalised under a tripartite Water Purchase Agreement (WPA) signed between the two utilities and the Authority.
The WPA made provision for quarterly reviews of the hydrological outlook at Kariba to inform on the continued availability of water and the need, if any, for adjustments in the amount allocated for power generation at Kariba.
The quarterly reviews may result in a downward or upward adjustment in the allocation made to Kariba North and South Bank Power Stations for their respective generation operations.
Munodawafa added that the 3BCM increase in water allocation was informed by hydrological simulations carried out by the Authority that considered the obtaining stored usable water and power generation levels at the two Kariba Power Stations.
He said the Normal to Above Normal Rainfall projections made by the respective Meteorological Departments of Zambia and Zimbabwe for the 2021/2022 rainfall season have also been considered in coming up with the decision to increase water allocation for power generation.
Munodawafa said ZRA will continue to closely monitor the hydrological outlook at Kariba and make necessary adjustments, where necessary, to ensure the sustainable operation of the Kariba Reservoir going into the year 2022.