Despite heavy rains Zimbabwe’s Kariba Dam is only 15% full

KARIBA – Heavy rains, which have pounded Zimbabwe in recent weeks and caused floods in some parts of the country, have not yet translated into significant inflows into the Kariba Dam, which the country shares with neighbouring Zambia.

The two countries rely on the dam for the generation of hydro-electric energy. Low water levels in the Kariba have been a source of concern and blamed for power shortages.

Zimbabwe is currently battling a persistent liquidity crunch, a high public-sector wage bill that gobbles up 97% of all monthly revenues, a dwindling tax base, and bottlenecks in settling international transactions.

This week, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Busisa Moyo urged the government to speedily resolve the payment backlogs, which threaten the operations of industry. “Companies are unable to supply products and to procure goods for production,” he said.

Despite the signs of a tough year ahead, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has projected an optimistic economic growth rate of 1.7%. This is at odds with the International Monetary Fund estimates of economic contraction of as much as 2.5% this year.

In its latest weekly update, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) said the Kariba Dam was 15% full, with 477.61m of water, slightly above the minimum threshold of 475.50m.

“The Kariba lake was created and designed to operate at levels between 475.50m and 488.50m, with 0.70m freeboard at all times. The lake dropped by 0.04m during the week under review and closed the week at 477.61m on January 6 2017. Last year, on the same date, the lake level was 477.39m. All spillway gates at Kariba remained closed during the week under review,” it said.

The water levels at the Kariba lake have been sharply falling since the onset of the drought induced by the El Niño weather pattern which swept across southern Africa almost two years ago. Weather forecasts by the Meteorological Department predict more heavy rains and have issued more flood warnings.

The ZRA, a statutory body formed by the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments, is responsible for the allocation of water used by Zimbabwe’s Kariba South and Zambia’s Kariba North power stations. Zimbabwe needs about 1,200MW of power, but is only able to generate about two-thirds of its power requirements from domestic sources.

Obsolete infrastructure and persistent breakdowns have resulted in the main power stations failing to operate at optimum levels. The Kariba South station generates 600MW of power and the Hwange station — the other main electricity generation unit in Zimbabwe — generates 267MW, according to the Zimbabwe Power Company. The balance of Zimbabwe’s power needs is augmented by imports from SA and Mozambique. SA’s Eskom supplies about 300MW to Zimbabwe at a cost of about $6.5m (R88.3m) a month.

Meanwhile, the heavy rains, should they persist, could also deal a blow to the prospects of a good agricultural season. Chinamasa has pinned his hopes of an economic growth primarily on agriculture and mining. “Agriculture and mining are to drive overall growth, with sector growth of 12% and 0.9%, respectively, in 2017,” he told Parliament in his national budget address last month.

The governing Zanu-PF party is hopeful that its “command” agriculture scheme, unveiled in July last year, will see Zimbabwe return to its former glory of being the breadbasket of Africa. Under the programme, farmers with 100ha of land, large water bodies and a minimum of five years’ farming experience are contracted by the government to produce at least 1,000 tonnes of grain each. The farmers receive free farming inputs. About 400,000ha were earmarked for the scheme, guaranteeing 2-million tonnes of maize. Last year, Zimbabwe spent $256m importing grain to meet its food needs. – Business Day

Related Posts
Mega brewing deal nears as AB InBev approaches SABMiller
SABMiller on Wednesday confirmed that Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev had approached it about a takeover that would form a brewing colossus producing a third of the world’s beer. A merged group would ...
READ MORE
Investment choices undermined as less than half of pension fund trustees are trained – IoDZ
HARARE,-Over half of trustees managing the country’s pension funds are untrained, the Institute of Directors of Zimbabwe (IoDZ) said last week, warning that this could be the reason why these ...
READ MORE
Coke could close South Africa plants
Johannesburg - Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, the bottling joint venture between the US soft-drink maker and brewer SABMiller may close South African plants and see profit more than halve if the ...
READ MORE
Why Mugabe’s Indigenisation Policy is bad for Zimbabwe’s economy
Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has announced his intention to fully enforce the highly controversial “Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act” IEEA, which aims to force foreign owned businesses to transfer at ...
READ MORE
Sugar shortage looms as drought bites
Masvingo—Zimbabwe faces a shortage of sugar as the drought has severely affected sugar cane production in the Lowveld. Two dams that supply water to the Lowveld have since been decommissioned ...
READ MORE
Mzembi calls for tourism VAT reduction
HARARE,– Tourism and hospitality industry Minister Walter Mzembi says the government must reduce the 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on foreign accommodation to five percent to grow the sector ...
READ MORE
Zimbabwe heading for shortages
The worsening liquidity crunch is plunging the country into an economic gridlock which could set off an unprecedented post-dollarisation socio-economic crisis. For the umpteenth time, Treasury has postponed payment of ...
READ MORE
Audit firm raises red flag over Ariston balance sheet
HARARE, – Accountancy and professional services firm Deloitte and Touche has raised the red flag after agro-industrial concern Ariston’s liabilities outstripped the company’s assets, signaling viability constraints which the company ...
READ MORE
‘Imports Devastating Zimbabwe Industries’ – Mnangagwa
BULAWAYO — Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa says government is concerned that Zimbabwe is becoming a dumping ground for various products sourced from several nations, a situation that has resulted in ...
READ MORE
Mwana Africa calls for power price cut for Zimbabwe gold mine
HARARE (Reuters) - Mwana Africa's gold mine in Zimbabwe, Freda Rebecca, has asked the government to cut its electricity tariff by up to 28 percent because it says current rates ...
READ MORE
Mega brewing deal nears as AB InBev approaches
Investment choices undermined as less than half of
Coke could close South Africa plants
Why Mugabe’s Indigenisation Policy is bad for Zimbabwe’s
Sugar shortage looms as drought bites
Mzembi calls for tourism VAT reduction
Zimbabwe heading for shortages
Audit firm raises red flag over Ariston balance
‘Imports Devastating Zimbabwe Industries’ – Mnangagwa
Mwana Africa calls for power price cut for

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez coyly addresses Drake relationship amid romance rumours

20th January 2017 Staff Reporter 0

Jennifer Lopez claims her relationship with rapper Drake is strictly professional. In a new interview, the Shades Of Blue actress avoided questions about their rumoured romance and instead, confirmed they have collaborated on a new […]

Arts & Entertainment

Paris Jackson ‘wants to vomit’ seeing white actor as ‘King of Pop’

12th January 2017 Staff Reporter 0

Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris says she is “incredibly offended” by a new comic film in which a white British actor, Joseph Fiennes, portrays the late “King of Pop.” Paris Jackson, 18, also called the tongue-in-cheek […]