Munodawafa told reporters that despite increased rainfall activity over the past few weeks, Lake Kariba remains low at only about 8% usable water because of the ‘thirsty’ Barotse and Chobe Flood Plains in Zambia, where most of the water comes from. Said Munodawafa:
The relatively high inflows monitored on the Upper Zambezi catchment remain weakened by the rather ‘thirsty’ Barotse and Chobe Flood Plains, resulting in paltry daily increments of about 6-12 m3/s per day at Victoria Falls. This explains why we are at 5.4 billion cubic meters or 8.36 per cent usable storage in Lake Kariba as of this morning.
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The average annual inflows into Lake Kariba are in the order of 40 billion cubic meters, meaning, under average conditions, and assuming a generation level in the order of 550 MW requiring approximately 22 billion cubic meters, it would take up to three years of average inflows to fill the lake to maximum retention level.
The Lake has a capacity of about 180.6 billion cubic meters when full at 488.5m but only 65 billion cubic meters is available for power generation.