At least 86 European Union and African Development Bank representatives met the Zambezi River Authority officials last Friday to discuss the refurbishment and funding of the Kariba Dam wall which is experiencing some structural problems, an official said.
The dam, which was constructed 50 years ago to supply energy to Zimbabwe and Zambia, now requires major refurbishments at a cost of $294 million to prevent it from being washed away.
Last Friday’s meeting between the ZRA board, the EU, African Development Bank, World Bank and Sweden comes barely a month after another meeting was held last month to finalise funding for the project.
“Fortunately, the boards of the African Development Bank have lined up their end of year meeting for the second week of December to authorise expenditure,” said energy ministry permanent secretary, Partson Mbiriri who chairs ZRA, a body established to manage the Zambezi River Basin on behalf of the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
At the previous meeting, the EU pledged to mobilise $100 million for the project, the World Bank, $75 million; Sweden, $30 million; $75 million in AfDB loan to ZRA while the rest will be counterpart funds from ZRA.
Mbiriri told journalists after a tour of the Kariba Power Station expansion project that the dam refurbishments would take eight years to complete.
“The refurbishment work for the six gates will be done one gate at a time and this will take a long time. It will take two years to be able to design and manufacture the new equipment that will be needed,” he said.
An additional two years would be required to manufacture some components, adding that some of the design work on the dam done in the 50s was outdated as engineers used concrete that was not reinforced on parts of the wall.
Mbiriri said the plunge pool where water from the flood gates flows into would also be refurbished as it would “threaten” the integrity of the foundation of the dam wall.
“It is on that basis that the plunge pool needs to be remodelled,” he said, adding that its remodelling would cost $125 million.
Mbiriri said the funds would be released to the Zambian government for onward lending to the Zambezi River Authority as per request from the funders.
Work on the dam is expected to commence during the first half of next year.- The Source