Batoka power project on course

Aerial View of the Zambezi River

Aerial View of the Zambezi River

Sydney Kawadza
THE construction of the US$3 billion Batoka Gorge Hydroelectricity Scheme is set to start by the end of next year after the completion of the US$2,5 million access road linking Victoria Falls and the Batoka Gorge through Chisuma area.
However, construction of the access road on the Zambian side is still to be competed with only less than 2km left.
The recent completion of the access road to the gorge on the Zimbabwean side would facilitate feasibility studies and designs for the station.
Zimbabwe and Zambia are expected to get 1 600MW from the envisaged project. The scheme would see the construction of a 54-kilometre Batoka Dam upstream of Lake Kariba.

Addressing journalists during a media tour of the Batoka Gorges in Zimbabwe and Zambia recently, Zambezi River Authority spokesperson Ms Elizabeth Karonga said the authority had launched the tendering process for an environmental impact assessment of the project.
“The Zimbabwean and Zambian governments have agreed on the need to set aside their differences emanating from the dispute over payments on the Kariba Dam and we have had a commitment from both President Mugabe and President Sata on the need to expedite the project.”

She said the authority was not expecting challenges from environment and social impediments since the area earmarked for the project was not populated and has minimal animal movement from the site.

“We expect the project to commence at the end of 2014 and the project would take at least seven years to complete.”
ZRA hydrology technician Mr Samuel Mwale said the hydroelectricity project would add significant power to alleviate power shortages in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“The dam completion would see the generation of  1 600MW, that is 800MW on the Zimbabwean side and similar amount on the Zambian side.

“This would see both countries receiving quite a significant amount of electricity to alleviate power shortages in both countries,” he said.
Mr Mwale said there would be minimum environment and social impact on the communities.

“The dam wall would be about 181 metres in the Batoka Gorges and all the water would be confined in the gorges and this would have minimum impact on the environment and societies,” he said.

ZRA is a corporate body jointly owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia through bilateral agreements to co-manage the shared stretch of the Zambezi River and it has been managing Lake Kariba and its attendant infrastructure to facilitate and support hydropower generation through the country’s power utility companies.

Zambia and Zimbabwe have agreed to expand hydropower infrastructure on the Zambezi River.
The process leading to project implementation is organised under five main areas, namely that preparatory works, tendering process, organising

project implementation, approval and awarding of contracts and construction and supervision of physical works.

Pin It
  • Danmanyika

    How much has Zimbabwe paid off from its US$260 million 30-year-old debt to Zambia from the Kariba dam, and will more interest be added for further delays?
    As long as Sata remains President there may be some cooperation, but many Zambians feel they should concentrate more on internal water and power generating projects exclusively for the benefit of their country, rather than Batoka which is of far more interest and urgent for Zimbabweans. Given outstanding debts the Zimbabwe government owes Zambia, one can understand some Zambian reluctance to heavily invest in Batoka when Zimbabwe could yet again default on payments.

    • themba

      These are the facts. Who should be paying who as if Zanu-Pf had defaulted.

      “The double curvature concrete arch dam was constructed between 1955 and 1959 by Impresit of Italy[2] at a cost of $135,000,000 for the first stage with only the Kariba South power cavern. Final construction and the addition of the Kariba North Power cavern byMitchell Construction[3] was not completed until 1977 due to largely political problems for a total cost of $480,000,000. 86 men lost their lives during construction

      The Kariba Dam project was proposed and implemented by the government of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, or Central African Federation (CAF). The CAF was a semi-independent state in southern Africa that existed from 1953 to the end of 1963, comprising the former self-governing Dominion ofSouthern Rhodesia and the British Colonies of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Northern Rhodesia had decided earlier in 1953 (before the Federation was founded) to build a dam within its territory, on the Kafue River, a major tributary of the Zambezi. It would have been closer to Zambia’s Copperbelt which was in need of more power. This would have been a cheaper and less grandiose project, with a smaller environmental impact. Southern Rhodesia, the richest of the three, objected to a Kafue dam and insisted that the dam be sited instead at Kariba. Also, the capacity of the Kafue dam was much lower than that at Kariba.[6] The Kariba Dam is now owned and operated by the Zambezi River Authority, which is jointly and equally owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia.[7]“

      • Zivanai

        You obviously didn’t read many of the facts freely available over the internet, what you have quoted after a quick cut and paste from “Googling” doesn’t in any manner cover the reasons and history of Zimbabwe’s debt towards Zambia. Try reading some Zambian news archives to get another viewpoint.