ZESA Holdings and its Zambian sister power utility, the Zambia Electricity Supply Commission ZESCO, will be allocated more water by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to increase their electricity generation next month.
For now, ZESA and ZESCO will maintain the combined average generation output at the Kariba hydro-power plant at 500MW.
This was said by ZRA chief executive officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa after Zambian Ministers and senior Government officials toured part of the Kariba complex on Wednesday, 11 January. Said Munodawafa:
The two utilities (ZESCO Limited and ZPC) will maintain combined average generation output at Kariba at 500MW, that is, 250MW ZESCO and 250MW ZPC to the end of January 2023 after which they could increase to 400MW per power station as the flows of the mainstream Zambezi River further increase during both the months of February and March and into the second quarter of the year 2023.
Munodawafa said the over-utilisation of water by utilities and poor performance of Kariba’s lower catchment rivers led to low water levels being recorded during the last quarter of the year 2022.
He said as of 11 January, the Kariba Lake level was at 475.78 (0.28m above the Minimum Operating Level-MOL of 475.5m). Added Munodawafa:
Flows in the mainstream Zambezi River are expected to continue increasing going into February 2023.
Lake levels increasing and are projected to significantly increase by April 2023 in line with peak flows of mainstream Zambezi River.
The upper catchment of the Zambezi River is recording increased water levels.
ZRA is a joint venture corporation owned by the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia responsible for the management of the Zambezi River waters and the Kariba Dam complex.
The Kariba Dam complex comprises the dam wall and water storage reservoir and other associated ancillary facilities such as lake levels and river in-flows monitoring equipment.