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Zimbabwe’s Kariba dam faces a real chance of shutting down, paving way for more power cuts

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The Kariba hydro dam is continuing to cause more energy problems for Zimbabweans.

After implementing stage two of load shedding last week, it appears that there is now a growing shortage of candles as well.

Currently, the dam is only 29% full, compared with 88% a year ago and 31% at the start of June. Kariba is the world’s biggest man-made reservoir and straddles the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

This raises the very real prospect of the station shutting down within weeks. The imminent danger of the dam shutting down is paving the way for deeper power cuts in the country.

Fortune Chasi told a committee of parliament that power blackouts lasting up to 10 hours could not be avoided as Zimbabwe is producing 1,100 MW a day compared with demand of 1,500 MW.

“There is no guarantee that there will be water, what we are seeing is a southward movement in water levels at Kariba. If the trend goes like that, we will probably say just after 14 weeks Kariba will not generate any megawatts,” Chasi said.

Kariba, the largest electricity producer in Zimbabwe with a capacity of 1,050 MW, is generating less than a third of that due to low water levels caused by a severe drought.

 

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