By Peter Sinkamba
ZESCO STATISTICS ON KARIBA DAM ARE FISHY: ZESCO LIKELY TO HAVE SOLD ITS 10% ALLOCATION TO ZIMBABWE
Zambia’s Zesco and Zimbabwe’s ZESA were allocated with 22.5 billion cubic metres of water each by the regulator of the Kariba dam, the Zambezi River Authority, for power generation for 2022.
ZESCO Kariba North Bank Station Manager Cephas Museba says as of yesterday, 1st January 2024, Zambia utilized 99.5% of its allocation.
The statistics given by Museba shows that on paper, Zambia entered 2023 with an excess of 0.5%, since, according to Museba, Zambia utilised 99.5% of the allocation.
Going by these statistics, there is nothing to worry because ZESCO has excess stock of water as we enter 2023. In fact, ZESCO should now be telling us how much water Zambia has been allocated for 2023, and steps it has taken to ensure it is even more efficient in the utilisation of its allocation to beef up on it excess stock.
However, there is some dishonesty going on at ZESCO. The nation has been informed by ZESCO that tomorrow, loadshedding starts because of low water level at Kariba Dam.
Here is why I suspect dishonesy at ZESCO.
If total quantity of water available was 45 billion cubic metres; and an equal amount of 22.5 billion cubic metres each was allocated to Kariba North Bank (Zambia) and Kariba South Bank (Zimbabwe), then there is no way that Zimbabwe would exceed its allocation by 10%, if at all ZESCO utilised 99.5%, and still remains with an excess of 0.5% as at 31st December 2022.
If indeed Zimbabwe exceeded its allocation by 10%, this means that as at 31st December, 2022, either ZESCO still had 10.5% excess or utilised 88.5% or it sold its 10.5% or 2.6 cubic million liters to Zimbabwe’s ZESA.
I say so because water mass balance shows that if only 45 billion cubic metres of water were available, and both Zambia and Zimbabwe utilised 22.5 billion cubic metres each, then there is nowhere that Zimbabwe was going to miraculously manufacture an additional 10%, that ZESCO purports ZESA as at 31st December 2022.
From water mass balance perspective, the only sensible explanation is that ZESCO did not utilise 99.5% but 88.5% as at 31st December, 2022. Either ZESCO sold the remainder of its 10% allocation to ZESA or wants to use underhand methods to generate power for sell corruptly.
ZESCO must give a credible water mass balance explanation on where ZESA got the excess 10% from the 45 billion cubic metres available if ZESCO utilised its 22.5 billion cubic metres allocation. Otherwise, the whole explanation so far is fishy, and smells of corruption.
Scientifically speaking, there is no justification for load shedding earmarked to start tomorrow.