ZRA to raise $250m for Kariba dam rehabs

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The governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe have set a target to raise about US$250 million for the rehabilitation of the Kariba dam wall which has raised concern over its safety.

The two governments, through the council of ministers, appointed a resource mobilisation committee to ensure concerted efforts in resource mobilisation for the critical works and other projects.

Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Board Chairperson Charity Mwansa confirmed the development in her foreword message in the ZRA annual report and accounts for the year ended 31st December, 2013.

Mrs. Mwansa, who is Zambia’s Ministry of Mines and Water Development permanent secretary, said the Kariba dam wall requires a series of rehabilitation works in order to avoid gradual degradation of key safety features.

She noted that concern has been raised over the safety of the Kariba dam wall which was built over 50 years ago.

She said to this end, critical dam maintenance programmes continue to be undertaken while a lasting solution is being sought.

Mrs. Mwansa said the year 2013 marked the beginning of the critical Kariba dam rehabilitation programme through preparations of tender documents for kick-starting the resource mobilisation process for funds to undertake the major works.

The ZRA board chairperson said the works involve reshaping and stabilising the plunge pool, which is immediate downstream of the dam wall, to limit scouring and erosion that could undermine the dam

Mrs. Mwansa said the other project is the spillway refurbishment which involves designing, fabrication and installation of an emergency gate and a new gantry to prevent uncontrolled loss of water in the event of floodgate failure.

She said ZRA will continue to fulfil its mandate of monitoring maintenance and corrective measures to protect the dam and ensure its safety.

She added that ZRA management was currently updating its emergency preparedness plan for the lower Zambezi and also enhancing its internal processes and procedures for preparedness.

Mrs. Mwansa has since commended the resource mobilisation committee for the sterling work and efforts in steering the process.