Zambian Engineers rule out imminent collapse of Kariba dam

An engineer shows reporters cracks in the Kariba Dam wall last year
Kariba Dam , An engineer shows reporters cracks in the Kariba Dam wall last year
An investigation recently conducted by the Engineering Institute of Zambia (EIZ) has revealed that contrary to earlier media reports, there is no imminent collapse of the Kariba Dam.


Speaking during a media briefing in Lusaka this morning, EIZ vice president for policy, public relations and national development, George Sitali has disclosed that this is despite the Kariba Dam Wall having developed some cracks resulting from shrinkage, temperature effects and Aggregate Alkali Reaction.

Mr. Sitali says the EIZ team of experts that undertook the investigation has also found that the Dam’s plunge pool scouring has reached depths of the order of 80 meters which he warns if not addressed can lead to undermining of the foundation of the Dam wall and instability.

He says the investigation has also revealed that the present spillway gates at the Dam do not allow emergency operation in an event of down-streaming of the Dam fail to close due to deformities over a period of time.

Mr. Sitali notes that the other finding of the investigation has also revealed that the effects of Alkali Aggregate Reaction are volumetric expansion of the concrete which has led to deformation in the spillway gate built-in parts.

He explains that in view of these findings, the EIZ has recommended to government that the Zambezi River Authority constantly monitors and evaluates the behavior of the Dam.

Mr. Sitali further states that the other recommendation is that the immediate significant effects of Aggregate Alkali Reaction on the gate openings and associated hydro-mechanical works should be addressed to ensure that spillway operations, under varying conditions, are guaranteed.

He adds that the EIZ further recommends the installation of an emergency spillway gate and new gantry.

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