Truck loads on Kariba dam wall to be limited

The Council of Ministers (COM) of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has resolved to regulate and limit axle-loading of vehicles to ensure the safety of Kariba Dam wall.

They met this week for their 32nd session in Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe at Elephant Hills Resort to advance the policy direction of the ZRA and the utilization of the Zambezi River.

ZRA COM chairperson, who is Zambia’s Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma Yaluma, said ZRA projects such as the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam should become a reality adding that as it is now, the dam is a disaster to the entire southern region.

He said though the US$ 294.2 million meant for the Kariba dam rehabilitation project is on paper, the project is expected to commence in September this year while the Batoka Hydro Electric Scheme project is earmarked for commencement in January 2016 to 2021.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy and Power Development Dr. Samuel Undenge was among the signatory of the communique.

It was also reaffirmed that development of the Batoka Hydro Electric Scheme for the enhancement of power generation capacity in the two States would go ahead.

The meeting resolved to recognize the role that the Zambezi Valley Development Fund continues to play in improving the livelihoods of the displaced communities around the dam as evidenced by the nineteen projects completed by the fund since 1997 .

The meeting consequently approved budget of US$ 1 million allocated to ZRA project activities for 2015.

Earlier during a press briefing shortly after a closed door meeting, Yaluma said Zambia and Zimbabwe shall remain committed to their bilateral co-operation in the development of ZRA projects between the two countries. The out-going ZRA COM Chairperson Undenge said ZRA has entered an exciting period focusing on the Batoka Hydro Electric Scheme whose feasibility studies are on-going and are scheduled to be completed in July this year.

Undenge did not disclose the approximate amount expected to go towards the Batoka Hydro Electric Scheme but just said only US$ 6 million from World Bank was released for the feasibility study.

ZRA is mandated to harness and manage the Zambezi River waters for socio-economic development and to maintain the Kariba dam complex including any future dams or infrastructure on the river forming a common border between the two countries.

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