ZAMBIA could be plunged into total darkness if more stringent load shedding is not exercised to utilise the remaining 479.96 metres of water in the Kariba Dam.
Kariba North Bank acting station manager Mahaku Maloza has warned that ZESCO would be forced to shut down operations if the dam dried up completely.
Already Zimbabwe has reduced power generation from Kariba by a third to 475 megawatts to conserve water until the rainy season.
“This is how serious the situation is; if this remaining water was to dry up then the whole country would come to a standstill and be in total darkness,” he said.
Speaking during the tour of the facility, Mr Maloza explained that the only way out was for ZESCO to ensure that it utilised the little water remaining untill the next rainy season through greater rationing which was only possible through increased load shedding.
This came to light yesterday during the tour of the facility by Millennium Radio with fan club members who wanted to ascertain the situation.
He explained that due to the general power deficit in the region ZESCO had nowhere to buy power from in the event that the remaining water dried up because the entire sub-Saharan region was facing a power crisis.
He said last year at the same time, the water levels were at 485.30 metres but now the water levels inflows into the dam were amost below the long term average.
He said the water level was below normal levels forcing the power utility company to reduce the generation of power to ensure that the country survived the crisis.
Mr Maloza said that the more water ZESCO used the more power was needed to start up the machines generating electricity.
He said about 6 metres of water above sea level had been lost.
And ZESCO spokesperson Henry Kapata said his company would continue engaging citizens in an effort to sensitize them on the current status of the low water levels at the Kariba Dam and Kafue Gorge.
He said ZESCO had gone further by engaging ordinary citizens to view the two facilities for them to have first hand information.
He said consumers often exacerbated the situation by panic usage of power after it is restored thereby obviating the exercise.
And Millennium Radio Fan club member Mark Musendo said it was about time citizens believed that the water levels at Kariba Dam were truly low.
Mr Musendo said the current levels of water impacted negatively on the generation of power.
He was echoed by another group member Martha Nanyangwe who thanked ZESCO for the initiative, adding that people must continue practicing ‘switch and save’ to conserve the little water remaining in the reservoir.