West News Wire: According to the energy minister, Zambia will begin restricting electricity supply to domestic consumers on December 15 as a result of a significant decline in Lake Kariba’s water levels that threaten hydropower production.
Officials in the neighboring Zimbabwe, which owns the Kariba Dam with Zambia in a joint venture, declared last week that water levels were too low for them to continue power-generation operations there.
The two nations’ primary source of electricity generating is Kariba.
According to Peter Kapala, Zambia’s energy minister, the lake’s water levels have fallen to 4.1 percent of usable storage for the Kariba North Bank Power Station in Zambia and the Kariba South Bank on the lake’s Zimbabwean side.
“The low water level situation in the lake Kariba threatens the power generation from both the Kariba North Bank Hydropower station and Kariba South Bank Hydropower station,” he said.
Water levels in the lake have fallen due to reduced inflows from the Zambezi river and its tributaries and heavy use by power generation companies in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Hydropower contributes more than 75 percent of Zambia’s power generation.
Kapala said it was projected that if the current water utilisation continued, the remaining water for power generation would not be enough for power generation from mid-December.
To avoid a complete shutdown of the two power stations, the Zambezi River Authority has told Zimbabwe to cut generation to a maximum of 300 megawatts and Zambia to a maximum of 800 megawatts, he said.
“We anticipate that this will translate into a load management regime starting on the 15th of December, 2022 of up to six hours daily.”
The Kariba North Bank Power Station has an installed capacity of 1080 megawatts while the Kariba South Bank Power station in Zimbabwe has a capacity of 1050 megawatts.
The two countries jointly manage the water in the lake through the Zambezi River Authority.