Zambia to impose blackouts over low dam water levels

Both Zambia and Zimbabwe have power stations on the Kariba Dam, which straddles the two countries' border.

What you need to know:


  • Hydroelectric power accounts for more than 80 percent of power generation in copper-rich Zambia, according to energy experts.
  • Zambia's Energy Minister Peter Kapala told parliament the power cuts would begin on December 15 and last "until the water levels improve".

Zambia warned Friday it would impose nationwide blackouts of up to six hours a day as water shortages at one of southern Africa's largest dams hamper power generation. 

Zambia's Energy Minister Peter Kapala told parliament the power cuts would begin on December 15 and last "until the water levels improve".

Hydroelectric power accounts for more than 80 percent of power generation in copper-rich Zambia, according to energy experts.

Both Zambia and Zimbabwe have power stations on the Kariba Dam, which straddles the two countries' border.

Last week, the agency managing it told Harare that due to poor rains the reservoir's "usable storage" was only 4.6-percent full and it had to suspend operations of the country's power station. 

Zimbabwe's Energy Minister Soda Zhemu said Friday that the plant, which accounts for a large share of the country's power capacity, would not shut down completely but would "continue to generate but at a reduced capacity". 

Both Zambia and Zimbabwe have suffered from recurring droughts and power shortages in recent years. 

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