BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has increased the volume of water allocated for power generation at the Kariba hydroelectric power station for 2021 by three billion cubic meters, the firm said on Friday.
This increase in water allocation is further to the announcement made in June 2021 where in Zesco Limited, the Zambian power producer and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), were jointly granted an additional 12 billion cubic meters of water.
Zambia and Zimbabwe share the power facility on the Zambezi River.
“Consequently, the 2021 allocation increased from the initial combined allocation of 30 billion cubic metres granted at the commencement of 2021 to 42 billion cubic metres,” ZRA chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa said.
“As a result of this decision, the two utilities have effectively been allocated a combined total of 45 billion cubic metres of water for 2021, with each utility expected to utilise a total of 22.5 billion cubic metres for its respective power generation operations at Kariba for the year.”
The ZRA chief said the decision to further increase the 2021 water allocation was premised on the provisions of the ZRA Act which provide for the regulation of the Kariba reservoir in liaison with the two power generation utilities.
Munodawafa said provision of the ZRA Act 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.
He said 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.
“Accordingly, three billion cubic metres 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, as well as the normal to above normal rainfall projections made by the respective Meteorological Departments of the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe for the 2021/2022 rainfall season,” he said.
Munodawafa said the authority 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.
ZRA is a bi-national organisation mandated to contribute to the economic, industrial, and social development of Zimbabwe and Zambia by obtaining the greatest possible benefits from the natural advantages offered by the waters of the Zambezi River through the most economical and effective means of providing water for generation of electricity and for other purposes which the contracting States may decide upon.