Zim-Zambia partnership could ease ZESA woes

Zimbabwe’s power supply is hoped to improve following a partnership the country entered into with Zambia to develop the electricity generation capacity of the Batoka gorge.

The project, already captured in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Infrastructure Investment prospectus, will see the country exploring means to develop the Batoka gorge for the production of energy.

The project involves the construction of a dam and a hydro power plant on the Zambezi River.

The potential capacity of the site is 1 600 MW to be shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe Addressing delegates on Tuesday at the official opening of the fifth River Basins Organisations workshop being held in Harare under the theme “Monitoring the implementation of the Sadc Protocol on shared watercourses”, the Minister of Water Resources Management, Sam Sipepa Nkomo said there was need for a systematic and consistent implementation of the convention.

“It is in this light that in partnership with the Republic of Zambia, we are exploring means to develop the Batoka gorge. Water plays a major role in energy production in Zimbabwe,” said Nkomo.

“In SADC, we have the necessary instruments and institutions to foster integrated water resources management at the river basin level,” he added.

Nkomo said the speedy implementation of the agreed action points was critical because water remained a critical component of the development agenda in the region.

“The onus is on water authorities to ensure that the water sector is managed efficiently and in line with international best practices,” he said.

Zimbabwe has over the years suffered poor power supplies because of limited local generation capacity, lack of funds to import adequate electricity and a scaling down of provisions from the region.

He said the establishment of sufficient institutional development for trans-boundary waters had the capacity to enhance cooperation between countries and could boost regional socio-economic development and integration.

“Trans-boundary waters can make a contribution towards regional peace if the institutional capacity exists to manage them cooperatively for the benefit of all basin states,” he said.

The Sadc Director of Infrastructure and Services, Remigious Makumbe, said water was a key pillar of the economy, adding that there was need to scale up its availability to ensure food security in the region.

“Water is the engine for economic growth and many of our member states continue to face the challenge of access to water supply and sanitation,” he said.

He added: “It is important for SADC countries to build strategic water infrastructure that will increase land under irrigation to ensure the availability of water and guarantee food security in the region.”

The fifth RBOs workshop aims to build a consensus on Sadc strategies to support the efforts of member states in the establishment of institutional development.

It is also seeking to strengthen and develop RBOs and other joint trans-boundary water resources management mechanisms in the region.

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