Disaster As Low Water Levels Forced The Zambezi River Authority To Halt Power Generation To Zimbabwe

Disaster as low water levels forced the Zambezi River Authority to halt power generation activities to Zimbabwe.

Chronic Power Shortages

A nation already grappled with chronic power shortages received another blow when the Zambezi River Authority said water levels are now too low to continue power generation activities. The Zambezi River Authority manages the country’s biggest dam, the Kariba Dam.

Lake Kariba Weekly Water Levels Stats show that the dam stands at 4.6% capacity. The 4.6% capacity is below the level required for power generation activities.

Lake Kariba Weekly Water Levels Stats

From: 15 November 2022 To 28 November 2022

DayThis Year%FullLast Year%Full
Zambezi River AUTHORITY

In a letter to the Zimbabwe Power Company, the Zambezi River Authority chief executive officer, Munyaradzi Munodawafa said:

The dam no longer has any usable water to continue undertaking power generation operations

Munyaradzi Munodawafa, CEO Zambezi River Authority

The Zambezi River Authority further stated that “it is left with no choice” but to completely shut down power generation activities until at least the next review January 2023. The water levels are expected to improve by January 2023 according to the letter.

Climate Change Or Abuse?

Climate change or abuse? Despite of the decent rainfalls, the Lake level has been decreasing steadily. Is it abuse or overuse of water from the lake? Is it climate change? It is reasonable to argue that climate change may not be the reason for the low lake levels as ample rains fell last season. Gross mismanagement and poor planning may also be attributed as strong factors behind the water challenges at Kariba Power Station.


The Coal Power plants are now old and beyond their lifespan. This is giving much pressure on Kariba’s 1,050MW Hydro-Power Plant which is responsible for Zimbabwe’s 75% of domestic generation.

Zimbabwe is a country with an abundance of Coal reserves that can easily be used to commission more coal power plants. The biggest challenge is who can fund these projects. Due to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the universal sustainable development goals, most financial institutions are shying away from coal-fired power projects.

A Blessing for Solar Companies?

While the nation has been plunged into darkness with everything grounded due to lack of power, solar companies might be smiling. Knowing well that people will be searching for them. Those who have invested in solar solutions or any alternative means of power as business will likely make a killing in this crisis. The truth is that somehow businesses have to find ways of getting their own power and continue with work.

Zimbabwe Announces Solar Incentives for 1GW IPP Projects

This would mean sourcing power from either solar or diesel generators. The truth is that many households will turn into solar. Sometimes a crisis will push people to do the rightful thing.

The other angle to look at it is that all these costs are likely to be pushed to the final customer. Meaning that cost of goods and services will likely increase for the darkness period as businesses will be incurring extra costs on alternative sources of fuel until the Zambezi River Authority situation stabilises.


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*** ALSO CHECKLIVING UNDER THE GRID IN ZIMBABWE – little known facts about this catastrophe

Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

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