State acts to save Kariba Dam

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Kariba North Bank Hydro
Kariba North Bank Hydro

GOVERNMENT has enlisted the World Bank, European Union (EU), African Development Bank (ADB) and other agencies to help prevent the imminent collapse of Kariba Dam in Siavonga.

Answering questions at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said Government was aware of the risks associated with Kariba Dam which had developed cracks and was working with cooperating partners to address the problem.

He said the collapse of the dam would be a huge setback for Zambia and all the countries in the region.

“Pledges have been made and we are actively discussing this with our cooperating partners,” he said.

The hydro-electric dam, which borders Zambia and Zimbabwe, threatens the lives of 3.5 million people in the region.

Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary, Felix Nkulukusa, who is also chairperson of an inter-governmental committee mobilising funds for the repair of the dam, said recently that the wall of Kariba Dam, had developed weaknesses and may collapse if nothing was done to repair it in the next three years.

Kariba is one of the world’s largest dams measuring 128 metres in height and 579 metres long.

“We are told by engineers that if nothing is done in the next three years, the dam may be swept away,” he said.

The dam situated in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi River basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe needs US$250 million to be repaired.

Some experts say the dam, which controls 40 per cent of the total runoff of the Zambezi River, would also have a pushback effect on Zambezi’s major tributary, the Kafue River, which may result in the submersion of Lusaka Province, where the Zambian capital, Lusaka is located.

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