The Herald (Harare)

23 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Dam, River Levels Increase

The incessant rains have led to an increase in water levels with the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers posing a serious threat to communities who live in low lying areas. According to data received from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA),the increasing water levels have caused major flooding in the low lying areas of Muzarabani, Gokwe, Middle Sabi, Tsholotsho and lately, Chikwalakwala.

Limpopo River burst its banks because of significant increases in flows of up to 10 metres resulting in Zimbabwean and South African authorities ordering all vehicular and human traffic to stop using the Limpopo Bridge.

On the northern side, the water levels in the Zambezi River have been rising as a result of the rains being experienced within the country and the countries upstream of the Zambezi.

Lake Kariba is now at 63.9 percent full.In the Gwayi Catchment Area, which covers greater parts of Matabeleland North Province, there has been a rapid increase in dam levels of 10 percent since January 14 this year.

The current dam levels stand at an average of 76,6 percent full. In the Mzingwane Catchment Area, which is mainly Matabeleland South province, significant inflows have been recorded in the Bubye River at Bubye Bridge.

There is a lot of backflows in Mzingwane, Shashe and Bubye rivers as a result of high flows in the Limpopo River leading to the major tributaries failing to discharge into the Limpopo. All areas around the confluence of the major rivers and Limpopo are under threat of major flooding. These include the flood prone area of Chikwalakwala.

In Masvingo province, there has been an increase of 2.1 percent in dam levels.Dams in the catchment are still very low and stand at an average 27.2 percent full.Chances of flooding in the Malipati area are slim at the moment,although rainfall activities persist.

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