Efforts to address Zimbabwe’s prolonged power shortage are set to worsen after southern Africa’s largest dam operator suspended electricity generation at its main hydro plant. Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) notified Zimbabwe Power Company on November 25th that Kariba South hydropower station had overused its water allocation for 2022 and the Kariba Dam was only 4.6% full.
For the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments, the ZRA manages the Kariba Dam. “The Zambezi River Authority is left with no choice but to firmly guide that generation activities at the South Bank Power Station are wholly suspended until January 2023 when a further review of the substantive hydrological outlook at Kariba will be conducted,” the letter read.
The Kariba Dam has suffered poor inflows over the past few years because of successive droughts, and ageing coal-fired power stations have repeatedly failed to supply electricity. In order to increase the supply of solar energy, the government has licensed some independent solar producers. Due to low water levels in the dam, Kariba South has been producing well below its installed capacity of 1,050 megawatts.