By Staff Reporter

A FRENCH consortium recently clinched a $53.6 million deal to rehabilitate Kariba hydroelectric dam’s spillway.

The dam supplies electricity to Zimbabwe and Zambia and the project will help ensure continued energy security for the two southern African countries.

Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) which operates and maintains the dam awarded the contract to Freyssinet International and GE Hydro France, a subsidiary of the American giant General Electric.

“Rehabilitation of the spillway will ensure the safe long-term operation of the Kariba Dam for many years to come, and the continued contribution of the dam to the energy security and economic prosperity of Zambia and Zimbabwe,” said ZRA which is jointly and equally owned by the two countries.

The contractors have until 2023 to complete the project and have already started to install equipment at the project site.

The spillway consists of six gates located in the upper part of the dam’s concrete wall.

Water levels are only 5m above the minimum operating level instead of the usual 8m at this time of year.

This has resulted in a decrease in electricity production to about 600MW from installed capacity of 1,626MW.

According to Afrik21, rehabilitation of the dam will require a total investment of $294 million.

Financing is provided by the ZRA through equity and loans from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the European Union.