‘Urgent’ repairs to Kariba Dam to commence this year
Urgent repairs to avert the collapse of the gigantic, power-generating Kariba Dam between Zimbabwe and Zambia will begin this year after the two neighbours signed $294m in deals with international investors on Friday.
Of the loans and grants, the largest chunk, $100m, has come from the EU. The World Bank and the African Development Bank will each lend $7m and Sweden is giving a $25m grant. The repairs will cost $300m in all and the two countries will pay the difference.
The overhaul project of the world’s largest man-made dam will fix deformities and cracks in walls that were discovered in a series of assessments.
Those threaten the massive structure with collapse – an eventuality that would carry unimaginable humanitarian and environmental consequences if water in the 181-billion cubic metre reservoir were freed by a massive breach.
Managed by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), the dam feeds water to two hydro power stations generating 750MW of electricity for Zimbabwe and 600MW for Zambia.
Without the repairs, the economic and humanitarian consequences would have been “too ghastly to contemplate”, said Zambia’s Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda at the signing ceremony on the Kariba Dam wall.
The planned repairs will continue for up to 10 years.