Zambia to tap water from Congo River

  • Aug 21, 2019
  • Lusaka Times

Minister of Energy Mathew Nhkuwa has disclosed that government is exploring various measures aimed at mitigating the energy crisis that the country is facing.

Mr Nhkuwa noted that the current electricity deficits caused by the low water levels in most hydro generating water resources is an indication that the country needs to explore and tap into other potential energy sites.

He told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today, that to this effect plans are underway by government, to start tapping water from the Congo River, through the Zambezi River source, using canals, into the Kariba, Itezhi-tezhi and Kafue gorge hydro power stations among others.

The Minister explained that the move is expected to caution the power shortages by increasing generation capacity to about 400 megawatts.

“We know that the demand for power has continued to increase and we are not sitting back, but we have come up with an immediate measure which is to tap water from the Congo River through the Zambezi River source into the Kariba, Kafue gorge and Itezhi-tezhi dams which is much cheaper than setting up new hydro power stations,” he said.

Mr Nhkuwa noted that tapping water from the Congo River is the immediate solution to the energy challenges, adding that the process is cost effective, because it will use the already existing infrastructure, compared to the construction of new power generating stations which are expensive.

He disclosed that the Ministry of Energy is tomorrow scheduled to hold a meeting with Acting Republican President Inonge Wina on the issue, before embarking on visibility studies.

And Energy Forum Zambia Chairperson Johnston Chiwanda said the current power deficits are an indication that the country cannot depend on hydro power generation for a long time.

Mr Chikwanda observed that Zambia’s potential of hydro-electric generation is facing serious threats due to adverse effects of climate change, hence the need to find lasting solutions to the problem.

“The days of depending on hydro-electric generation are numbered due to frequent adverse climate changes, we can no longer depend on hydro for electricity generation as a long term measure therefore we should diversify, “he noted

He explained that the statement by ZESCO and Zambezi River Authority that water in Lake Kariba has reached the lowest in 24 years is an indication that there is a likelihood of a further reduction in generation consequently affecting the economic activities due increased load shedding.

Mr Chiwanda further pointed out that it is necessary for Zambians to embrace other sources of energy prospect of introducing nuclear energy in the energy mix as a sustainable long term option for future generations.

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