Business

Rise of Kariba Dam water level good – research firm

NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
THE rise in water levels at Kariba dam is a positive development for hydro-power generation, Business Monitoring International (BMI) has said.
BMI, a research firm that provides macroeconomic, industry and financial market analysis, says hydro-power generation will help address the power deficit the country has been experiencing.
Zambezi River Authority reported last week that water levels at the lake rose by 0.26m representing a steady climb of 26 percent.
The authority also said the Lake closed the week at 479.15m on February 9 in comparison to last year on the same date, when the lake level was 477.19m representing a 12 percent rise.
Lake Kariba was created and designed to operate between levels of 475.50m and 488.50m with 0.70m freeboard at all times.
“Low rainfall was the reason why dam levels plummeted contributing to power woes. However, despite the above normal rainfall on the back of La Niña effects during the 2016/2017 season, water levels at Kariba have started to climb steadily to 26 percent (479m levels) compared to 12 percent as at February 9 this year,” BMI has observed.
It says 2015 and 2016 were characterised by El Niño weather that caused drought that resulted in low crop yields in Africa despite Zambia recording bumper harvests.
Meanwhile, BMI says crops were at risk due to armyworm infestation (which has since been contained) is among the downsides of the rainy season which the country is experiencing.
It says despite the challenges, Zambia, however, still projects another bumper harvest this year.
“The country has undertaken a robust agriculture diversification programme for 2017 with US$45million injection into its cashewnut industry to reduce dependency on maize only,” BMI notes.

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