By Laiton Kandawire
The ultimate tourist resort town of Kariba must brace for dark days like it has never endured before since 1960.
Zimbabwe’s electricity shortages are getting worse each day as the Kariba lake water levels continue to also to go down whilst the situation at the Hwange thermal power station is reported to be bad. This has forced Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Development Company (ZETDC) in Kariba to abandon a schedule it had supplied to consumers earlier in June 2019. According to a senior ZETDC staffer, who cannot be named for fear of reprisals, the load shedding schedule is now given by a phone from Harare every morning.
Power consumers in Kariba had been hopeful that the town would be spared from the national load shedding schedule after Samu Mawawo, the indefatigable Kariba Incorporated Area Residents and Ratepayers Association (KIARRA) Executive Chairman had made a spirited presentation before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy. His presentation then carried the day with high hopes but is being shelved following the Hwange challenges.
Kariba tourism establishments will be negatively affected as they cannot provide the soft trappings like free WiFi, satellite television and self catering options which domestic tourists prefer. The natural environment will suffer due to the increased reliance on firewood for both lighting and cooking. The fishing industry will also not be spared.
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) which controls and allocate quantities of water used by power utilities in Lake Kariba is set to review the water allocation to ZPC (Zimbabwe) and ZESCO (Zambia) at the end of June 2019. However not much is expected from that quarter as the water situation in Lake Kariba has not improved.
Laiton Kandawire writes for Patsaka-Nyaminyami Community Radio Environment and Tourism Series