The Herald (Harare)

18 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Dams Now 50,4 Percent Full

Recent heavy rains experienced countrywide have resulted in an increase in the national dam levels which now stand at 50,4 percent after gaining 0,34 percent on average since January 7.

Deputy director of the Civil Protection Unit Mrs Sibusisiwe Ndlovu yesterday said flows in the country's rivers had picked up significantly due to the incessant heavy rains, which saw both river and dam levels rising.

"The flow increases have heightened chances of flooding in flood prone areas such as Muzarabani, Gokwe, Middle Sabi and Tsholotsho while chances of flooding in the extreme south areas such as Malipati and Chikwalakwala remain remote," said Mrs Ndlovu.

"Water in the Zambezi River has been increasing because of the rains here and in its upstream countries. As of January 14, flows were averaging 883 cubic metres, which is above the expected flows of 753 cubic metres at this time of the year. Lake Kariba is now at 62,2 percent full," she said.

Mrs Ndlovu said the lake level was above the 39,8 percent level expected at this time of the year. Last season the dam level was at 65,9 percent full during the same period.

She added that in the Gwayi Catchment that covers greater parts of Matabeleland North province there had been a 0,4 percent increase in dam levels since January 7.

The dam levels in the province stand at 61 percent full on average.

"There is a high probability of flooding due to the incessant rains especially in low-lying areas like Tsholotsho.

"Poor soil drainage further complicates the situation.

"In the Mzingwane Catchment (mainly Matabeleland South), zero flows have been recorded in the Bubye River at Bubye Bridge.

"The rains being received there are still insignificant to trigger meaningful flows or increases in dam levels. Heavy silting in the rivers is also contributing to the current scenario.

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