The traffic at Kariba Dam should be regulated so that the axle loading of the vehicles do not exceed the required weight limits to ensure safety of the dam wall, the Council of Ministers (COM) of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has resolved.
The aim of the meeting, the 32nd session in Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe at Elephant Hills Resort, was to advance the policy direction of the ZRA and the utilization of the Zambezi River.
This is contained in a communiqué signed by ZRA COM chairperson who is Zambia’s Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy and Power Development Samuel Undenge was among the signatory of the communiqué.
It was also reaffirmed that development of the Batoka hydro electric scheme for the enhancement of power generation capacity in the two states would go ahead.
The meeting resolved to recognize the role that the Zambezi Valley Development Fund continued to play in improving the livelihoods of the displaced communities around the dam as evidenced by the 19 projects completed by the fund since 1997.
The meeting consequently approved a budget of US$1 million allocated to ZRA project activities for 2015.
Earlier during a press briefing shortly after a closed door meeting, ZRA Council of Ministers Chairperson Yaluma said Zambia and Zimbabwe would remain committed to their bilateral co-operation in the development of ZRA projects between the two countries.
Mr. Yaluma said ZRA projects such as the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam should become a reality adding that as of now, the dam was a disaster in waiting of the entire southern region.
He said although the US$294.2 million meant for the Kariba dam rehabilitation project is on paper, the project was expected to commence in September this year while the Batoka hydro electric scheme project is earmarked for commencement in January 2016 to 2021.
And the out-going ZRA COM chairperson Dr Undenge said ZRA had entered an exciting period focusing on the Batoka Hydro Electric Scheme whose feasibility studies are on-going and are scheduled to be completed in July this year.
Dr. Undenge did not disclose the approximate amount expected to go towards the Batoka Hydro Electric Scheme but hinted at US$ 6 million from World Bank was released for the feasibility study.
ZRA is mandated to harness and manage the Zambezi River waters for socio-economic development and to maintain the Kariba dam complex including any future dams or infrastructure on the river forming a common border between the two countries.