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Kariba Dam rehab 80% complete

by Staff reporter
13 Oct 2023 at 06:15hrs | Views
The ongoing Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project, currently at an 80 percent completion stage, encompasses the reshaping of the Plunge Pool and refurbishments of the Spillway. This comprehensive endeavor is anticipated to extend the dam's lifespan by 60 years.

Progress on this US$294.2 million project is advancing well toward its conclusion, with the Zambezi River Authority and the primary funding partner, the European Union (EU), expressing optimism about its commissioning in 2025.

The Kariba Dam, constructed in the 1950s and commissioned in 1960, is responsible for regulating water levels in Lake Kariba. The dam wall faced a significant threat due to increased swirling and the identification of scouring and preferential erosion along a weak fault zone near the dam's foundations. The rehabilitation work was imperative to avert the potential loss of life for at least 500,000 people and to prevent over three million individuals from becoming economically incapacitated in the event of a dam wall collapse.

Notably, the Kariba Dam generates approximately 2,000 megawatts of clean electricity, benefiting both Zimbabwe and Zambia. This hydropower source also supports livelihoods through fishing and tourism.

During a recent visit to inspect the rehabilitation works, an EU delegation, including EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchmann, EU Ambassador to Zambia and Comesa Karolina Stasiak, Zimbabwe's Energy and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo, and ZRA board co-chairperson Dr. Gloria Magombo, emphasized the significant impact of this project. Dr. Magombo, also serving as Zimbabwe Energy Ministry's permanent secretary, co-chairs the board alongside her Zambian counterpart.

Dr. Magombo stated that the rehabilitation works would extend the dam's lifespan by 60 years, ensuring uninterrupted power generation. The EU is providing substantial funding for this project.

Zambezi River Authority's director of projects and dam management services, Eng Sithembinkosi Mhlanga, explained that the rehabilitation work on the plunge pool involved reinforcing the bedrock with concrete. This operation entailed excavating the rock surrounding the pool's walls, which had been eroded by spilling water.

Ambassador von Kirchmann emphasized the commitment of EU institutions and EU Member States to mobilizing financial resources for sustainable and high-quality projects in Africa. He regarded the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam as a flagship initiative of the Global Gateway Initiatives, emphasizing that sustainable development transcends borders.

Ambassador Karolina Stasiak underscored the project's importance in securing access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy, acknowledging that unforeseen challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, have extended the project's timeline. Europe is dedicated to providing financial support to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Minister Moyo praised the significant efforts made and urged contractors to expedite the project's completion. He stressed the importance of delivering high-quality work on schedule to ensure value for money for both governments and corporate partners.

Additionally, Minister Moyo mentioned the commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals on Clean Energy (SDG No. 7) and the construction of additional dams along the shared section of the Zambezi River, common to Zimbabwe and Zambia. He invited cooperating partners to consider further collaboration on projects such as Batoka Gorge and Devils Gorge hydro-electric schemes.

The rehabilitation project involves Razel Bec (a French company) and GE Hydro France, with Freyssinet International as the contractor. Funding is provided in the form of grants and loans from the African Development Bank, the European Union, the Government of Sweden, and the World Bank, made available to Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source - The Herald
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