Batoka to employ locals

Batoka power project

BATOKA hydropower dam project is expected to create employment for about 3 000 people from both Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Ruth Ngwenya
Own Correspondent

Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) chief executive officer Munyaradzi Munondawafa yesterday said construction of Batoka Dam will create long lasting job opportunities for locals near the dam from both countries.

“While companies conducting rafting argue that they are going to provide employment through rafting activities, the building of the Batoka itself is going to provide employment for about 3 000 people,” he said.

“These people will be taken from the locality of the dam and we are talking of something which will last for five years or more probably from August next year.”

The Batoka hydropower project will have a 181 meter high dam wall that will hold back 1 680 million cubic meters of water, covering an area of approximately 26 square kilometres. Munondawafa said the Zimbabwe and Zambian governments gave clearances on development of Batoka.

“Currently we are waiting for update on feasibility studies as well as carrying out of the environment impact assessment,” he explained.

“Previous environment assessments were rejected because they had loopholes.

“A full report is expected by March, after that we go to development of Batoka Dam.”

Munondawafa said the report will also evaluate how much money the project will contribute for the next 50 years to the two countries compared to how much shearwater rafting had contributed in the past 50 years.

“If it is discovered that rafting has not contributed much, then we have to agree on what is required to be done and go on with the project,” he said.

ZRA is a bi-lateral organisation between Zimbabwe and Zambia mandated to manage the Zambezi River and come up with strategies of ensuring that electricity is always available.

“As a bi-lateral organisation, we have to ensure that there is no disruption of electricity supply due to any problems from water,” he said.

“We have to strategically ensure that the water quality and quantity is okay so that we do not drain the lake for the sake of coming up with electricity.”

One of ZRA projects is the upcoming rehabilitation of Kariba Dam complex, which is funded by the Zimbabwe and Zambian governments, with support from European Union, World Bank, African Development Bank and individual European countries like Sweden.

“The issue of funding is almost done,” he said.

“There is strong commitment that we will get the funding and we are expecting that we start the rehabilitation process by May next year. A total of $292 million is needed for the whole rehabilitation process.”