Zimbabwe’s main hydropower plant at Kariba Dam is operating at near-full capacity for the first time since it was revamped two years ago.
Following one of the worst droughts to affect Southern African in forty years, the plant’s power generation capacity plummeted in 2019 resulting in prolonged power cuts of as long as 18 hours in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia.
Both countries rely on the lake for about half of their power.
Power generation has risen to 902 megawatts of electricity as of Friday, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) announced.
Kariba Hydropower Plant was upgraded in March 2018 to expand output to 1,050 megawatts from 750 megawatts and is now operating near peak capacity thanks to higher water inflows to Lake Kariba.
ZPC acting manager Never Maswera on Monday told Bloomberg by phone that the power plant is running at full throttle but there could be some reductions in September. He said:
There were significant inflows to the lake, which allowed us to run full throttle for the first time during this winter period.
There could be some reductions during the first week of September, but we are still within the stipulated guidelines for our allocations.
Latest data from the Zambezi River Authority, which manages the lake, shows that water levels at Kariba have risen five-fold and the reservoir’s capacity is 41%, up from as low as 8% earlier this year.