The proposed Batoka Hydropower Project faces a new hurdle in the form of white water rafters operating in the area, according to the Zambezi river authority (ZRA). The planned Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station will be built across the international border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and will have a capacity of 2 400MW.

Bakota faces delaySpeaking at a media briefing in Zambia last week, ZRA Chief Executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa said that angry white water rafters have constructed websites to protest against the project which will cost an estimated $294 million. According to him, the Zambezi water authority will not disturb the water rafters’ activities on the river and the problem “will be solved amicably”.

However, the situation has caused a delay in the project. This is the third time the project has been delayed since its inception over two decades ago. The first delay was as a result of a dispute over the payment of a Central African Power Corporation debt arising from the construction of the Kariba Dam in the Rhodesian era. In the 1990’s, the project stalled as a result of concerns that tourism revenue would be negatively impacted.

On completion, the Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station’s 2 400MW will be shared equally by Zambia and Zimbabwe. Construction is being spearheaded by the ZRA, which develops, operates, monitors and maintains hydropower projects along the Zambezi River shared by the two countries.

The Batoka hydro-electricity scheme is a three-phased project involving the construction of a dam, power station and transmission lines. The current plan proposes construction 54 kilometres downstream from the Victoria Falls and consists of a roller-compacted-concrete gravity arch dam 181m high that impounds a reservoir with a catchment area of 508 000 km2. Two power plants will be built, each with an installed capacity of 800MW – one on the Zambian side and another on the Zimbabwean side.

Image credit: http://www.zambiainvest.com/energy/zambia-announces-capacity-expansion-of-800-mw-at-batoka-gorge-hydro-power-project


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