Due to the sharp drop in water levels in Lake Kariba, a power issue has since followed leaving residents in the bordering countries without power for up to 10 hours a day. Unfortunately, there is no clear end in sight. Much like South Africans, Zimbabwean and Zambian residents are left to look for alternative solutions (such as solar systems and generators) keep their lights on and businesses functioning.
The Kariba Dam took four years to build and was opened by the Queen Mother in 1960. The Dam remains the world’s largest man-made reservoir and supplies water to two hydropower stations, ZESCO (Zambia Electricity Supply Organization) and the ZESA (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority). The two companies disperse power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition to the dangerously low levels of water, the maintenance and upkeep to additional power stations in the two countries have been neglected also causing it’s own issues. The Hwange Power Station dates back to the 1970s and Munyati Power Station was built between 1946 and 1957. Further expansion and refurbishment to these power stations has continued to fail to meet the ever-growing demand for electricity across the two countries.
In addition to the problems incurred from the lack of maintenance, old age and low water levels there is also the looming issue of dam wall maintenance. The dam requires urgent repair and rehabilitation. Without it, experts warn of a potential disaster that would affect 3.5 million lives residing near water starting from Zimbabwe leading all the way to Mozambique.
Farms, homes & businesses in these countries need to consider getting off the grid completely so everyday lives can carry on unaffected by the above issues.
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