Kariba cuts power output again as water levels drop lower

Kariba dam power supply
Kariba: Falling water levels, falling power output

Zambia and Zimbabwe have cut power generation at the Kariba dam by almost 600 megawatts (MW) after a drastic fall in water levels since October last year, the dam operator said on Thursday.

“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,” the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), a company jointly owned by Zambia and Zimbabwe, said in a statement.

ZRA said it had reduced the water allocated for power generation at the Kariba hydro power dam to 36 billion cubic metres from 38 billion cubic metres for 2019.

“This will reduce the combined power generation level at Kariba from 1,476MW to 890MW,” ZRA said. The move would ensure water is available for power generation into the 2020 season, it said, adding that the Kariba catchment area was expected to receive below normal rains for the rest of the 2018/2019 rainfall season. 

Kariba had already reduced output in February due to falling water levels.