Kariba Dam wall rehab on target
Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
ONGOING work at the Kariba Dam wall that include reshaping the plunge pool and refurbishment of the spillway have been commended by the Government with the successful completion expected to support the attainment of Vision 2030.
The US$275 million rehabilitation works are expected to prolong the life of the dam wall while in return support the economic activities of whole nation.
Kariba which is co-managed by Zimbabwe and Zambia through Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) body, is well known for its robust fish industry and Zimbabwe’s main source of hydro-electricity power, generating at least 1 000 megawatt and also produces power for neighbouring Zambia.
President Mnangagwa’s special advisor who monitors the implementation of Government programmes and projects, Dr Jorum Gumbo, toured the project last Friday accompanied by Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Marian Chombo.
His visit followed the tour on Thursday of Centragrid Power Plant, 35km west of Harare in Nyabira to assess progress of the expansion drive.
The plant which is currently feeding 2,5MW on the national power grid, is expected to add 22,5MW by year end with the installation of solar panels and cables now at an advanced stage.
Speaking after touring the Kariba works, Dr Gumbo said the works were a reflection that attainment of Vision 2030 was imminent.
“The Government supports the project because we recognise the significance of the Kariba Dam as a regional asset and the benefits that accrue to the surrounding communities.”
“I have been advised that the refurbishment of the plunge pool and spillway refurbishment works commenced in 2019 and the project is expected to be completed sometime in 2024 as per contractual agreement.”
“Considerable progress has been made in implementing the project although there are some outstanding works on both the spillway and plunge pool,” he said.
Dr Gumbo added that the Government’s expectations were that all projects underway are concluded within the scheduled timeframes.
In her remarks, Minister Chombo said the successful completion of Kariba rehabilitation project was going to be a plus to the province’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amid revelations that Mashonaland West was expecting to circumvent climate changes by taking irrigation farming extensively.
Mashonaland West is Zimbabwe’s breadbasket producing over 50 percent of grains and 60 percent of tobacco. It is also home to various platinum, lithium, gold, chrome and copper mines.
“This project came at an opportune time when global food grain stocks are falling and grain food prices are rising, reminding us of the need to strengthen our energy system for our irrigation systems and other production lines.
“Thus, it is time to increase local production and support farmers by keeping these reservoirs in peak conditions, enabling farmers to grow and produce much needed food for the country,” she said.
ZRA chief executive, Mr Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the board had contributing US$19,2 million into the rehabilitation works while African Development Bank, The European Union, Swedish Government and the World contributed the remaining share.