The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Kariba Hydro Power Company Limited (KHPC) have been strongly advised by the Zambezi River Authority to immediately ensure that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are completely discontinued moving forward until January 2023.
Munyaradzi Munodawafa, chief executive engineer of the authority, stated that the suspension would remain in effect until a new assessment of the Kariba hydrological outlook was made, which would take into account the build-up of total reservoir live storage that would have occurred in the event that the Kariba South Bank Power Station’s power generation operations had been suspended.
Engineer Munodawafa stated in a letter to the managing director of the Zimbabwe Power Company and copied to the managing director of Zesco that it is highly unlikely that any reasonable inflow augmentation will occur in the remaining months of the year 2022, providing little to no chance of improvement in the reservoir storage levels during the remaining months of the year 2022 and into the first quarter of the year 2023.
Please be advised that as of 25th November 2022, Kariba South Bank Power Station had utilised 23.89 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) of water, accounting for 1.39 BCM (or 6.16%) above the 2022 water allocation of 22.50 BCM.
Given that the Kariba Reservoir usable storage currently stands at a paltry 2.98 BCM or 4.60% full, and that ZESCO Limited still has a positive balance of 2.44BCM (10.82%) as of 25th November 2022, ZPC/KHPC no longer has any usable water to continue undertaking power generation operations at Kariba South Bank Power Station.With the current performance of the 2022/2023 rainfall season in the Kariba Lower Catchment where the river flows are yet to improve and the associated inflows from the Upper Kariba Catchment which will only influence any potential increase in the Lake Level at Kariba during the later part of the first quarter of 2023,” he said.
Engineer Munodawafa stated that the remaining water for power generation at Kariba will run out by mid-December 2022 or much sooner if the existing water use over allocation at Kariba South Bank Power Station continues.
Guided by the Water Purchase Agreement and the provisions of the ZRA Acts, as well as the agreed Reservoir Operational Framework under the Joint Technical Committee (JTC), where the Authority and the two Kariba Power Generation Utilities are obligated and have agreed to sustainably operate the reservoir, the Zambezi River Authority is left with no choice but to firmly guide that ZPC/KHPC immediately ensures that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended henceforth, until January 2023 when a further review of the substantive Hydrological Outlook at Kariba will be undertaken which will include consideration of the total reservoir live storage build-up which would have resulted from a shutdown of the Kariba South Bank Power Station power generation operations,” he said.