Zimbabwe and Zambia face possible electricity challenges following the reduction of power generation at Lake Kariba due to declining water levels in the water body.
In a statement, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) said water allocation for power generation at Kariba North and South would be reduced by almost 600 megawatts, from the current 1 476MW to 890MW.
“The lake level is currently five metres above the minimum operating level when it should be eight (metres) above the minimum operating level at this time of the year,” ZRA, the authority jointly constituted by Zambia and Zimbabwe, said in a statement Friday.
ZRA is a bi-national body responsible for the operation and maintenance of Kariba Dam Complex, investigation and development of new dam sites on the Zambezi River and analysing and disseminating hydrological and environmental information pertaining to the Zambezi River and Lake Kariba.
Owing to the below normal rains recorded to date, ZRA said the inflows into the lake had been below average, leading to the water levels at Lake Kariba dropping by over three metres from October 2018 to February 2019.
As a result, water allocated for power generation at Kariba has been reduced from 38 billion cubic metres to 36 billion cubic metres for 2019.
The move would ensure water is available for power generation into the 2020 season, ZRA said, adding that the Kariba catchment area was expected to receive below normal rains for the rest of the 2018/2019 rainfall season.
The electricity challenges in Zimbabwe will be exacerbated by the shortage that has already hit South Africa.
South Africa’s Eskom Company has been effecting load shedding and has already announced that it will be moving to implement Stage 1 load shedding from Stage 2 at 11pm on Friday.