Zambia, Zimbabwe cut Kariba Dam power generation

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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia and Zimbabwe reduced power generation to around half capacity at their power stations at the Kariba Dam as water levels in the reservoir fell, Zambia’s state-owned ZESCO Ltd said on Monday.

ZESCO spokesman Henry Kapata said power generation on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides had been restricted to 500 megawatts (MW) each from total capacities of around 1,000 MW.

“The Zambezi River Authority gave us an annual allocation of 19 billion cubic metres of water and this means we can only generate up to 500 megawatts each,” Kapata said, referring to the jointly owned firm which manages the Zambezi River.

A joint technical committee bulletin issued on Feb 19 by companies including power utilities in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique indicated that water levels in the Kariba Dam had dropped to 43 percent of its capacity.

“As the inflows into the Kariba and Kafue Gorge upper reservoirs are lower than the outflows, the reservoirs’ storage is decreasing,” the bulletin said.