Lake Kariba Dam in Jeopardy

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Buff-Buster, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Africa's creaking giant Kariba dam threatens to unleash biblical deluge

    RW Johnson, Cape Town Published: 30 March 2014 Sunday Times

    The Kariba dam provides much of southern Africa with power (Ariadne Van Zandbergen)
    FEARS of a humanitarian disaster are growing as engineers warn that Africa's mighty Kariba dam, opened by the Queen Mother in 1960, has developed severe structural faults.
    A collapse would unleash 180 billion tons of water from the largest man-made lake on the continent, sweeping thousands of hippos and crocodiles into an area of Zambia that is home to 3.5m people.
    The torrent, which would engulf the capital, Lusaka, could then roar on into Mozambique and Malawi.
    Much of southern Africa, which depends upon the dam's turbines for electricity, would be plunged into darkness.
    This month Felix Nkulukusa, permanent secretary at the Zambian finance ministry, told reporters that the wall of the dam had developed serious structural weaknesses. We are told by engineers that if nothing is done in the next three years the dam may be swept away, he said.
    A Zimbabwean engineer at the dam, who did not wish to be named, told The Sunday Times last week that the vibrations are downright scary when the floodgate is opened to allow water to be discharged after heavy rains. you can hear and feel the dam wall vibrate, he said.
    The water cascades into a plunge pool beneath the 420ft-high dam. It is supposed to be 30ft deep but has eroded at points to more than 250ft, potentially undermining the dam wall.
    Adding to the problem is a risk of earthquakes. The dam is built at the southern end of the Rift Valley, a tectonically active area where there have been at least 20 quakes of a magnitude greater than 5.
    Elizabeth Karonga of the Zambezi River Authority, which is jointly owned by Zambia and Zimbabwe, sought to allay fears but admitted that the situation at the Kariba dam wall is cause for grave concern.
    Chris Yaluma, the Zambian minister of mines, energy and water, managed to spread further disquiet when he said: there is no need to panic. The dam wall will not collapse overnight. A collapse of the Kariba dam could trigger further disasters. Once the tidal wave of water reached Mozambique it would overwhelm the mighty Cahora Bassa dam and release another 51 billion tons of water, making the spillage four times bigger than the largest on record.
    The river authority regards repairs to the plunge pool as urgent and it is sufficiently worried about a failure of the floodgate to suggest the construction of a new emergency gate.
    At least $250m is needed for the repairs. But Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe has kicked out the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and anyone else who might lend the money.
    The Zambians are more optimistic and say the World Bank, the European Union and the African Development Bank are all likely to help. Even so, such repair work will not start for many months.
    people are worried, perhaps irrationally, said Richard Maasdorp, a Zimbabwean engineer. but they know the clock is ticking.
    ________________________________________
    Africa?s creaking giant Kariba dam threatens to unleash biblical deluge
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Funny the Zimbabwe Engineer is not so worried.
    Perhaps because the river is on the out flow from Zimbabwe.
     
  3. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    not sure how it would take out lusaka, but this has been talked about for awhile in that part of the world. there is continual stop gap maintenance going on there. there was an article in lusaka lowdown a small monthly newspaper ( www.lowdownzambia.com ) last year or maybe even year before talking about whether there is anything in the way of a disaster management scheme in place just in case something did happen. if it did happen i think the remaining power output would be directed to the mines, but i am not sure how well that would work, so the zambian economy would go into freefall as the copper mines/smelters etc and the big commercial farms wouldnt be able to function properly. zimbabwe would be hammered as well with power shortages, and zambia sells power to other countries. there are other hydro electric and sources of power but they couldnt even try and make up the shortfall. also to enable zambia to sell to the other countries it cuts power to local areas at certain times which doesnt make the zambians too happy.
     
  4. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    not sure about the taking out Lusaka bit either, there is also Kafue gorge power station in the way of that.
    it seems pretty serious though. there has been a lot of talk the past 10 years about cracks in the wall etc.
    we were stopped from transporting our reefer trucks across the wall at one point because of the apparent weakness.
    it would certainly be a big disaster if it did collapse.
    I don't think the rest of the power supply in Zambia would cater for the mines alone, let alone the rest of the country.
    this issue would explain the recent moves by the gov to get new power generation points in place all over the country, be it hydro on rivers and waterfalls, geothermal or coal.
     
  5. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Yea, the Lusaka part didn't make much sense to me either. Regardless, the loss of power and the devastation downriver would be catastrophic!

    Attached is a link to a video of a tsumami coming up a river in Japan. I would think the dam giving way would be similar.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2014
  6. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    i think you would have to multiply it many times. it is said that if the dam went the force of water escaping would jolt the earths rotation on its axis .
     
  7. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    not sure I would even feel it...
    although the new fish farm may suddenly become slightly more valuable, what do you think spike?
     
  8. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    as long as people are stiill making money to buy the fish.....;)
     
  9. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    gday spikey ,
    how far away from this tidal wave waiting to happen, will we be ?
     
  10. Takeri Reserve Zambia

    Takeri Reserve Zambia AH Senior Member

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    hi bluey dont worry you will be way up north for the hunt , but for the fishing you will be a bit down river from kariba, so bring your surfboard just in case ;)
     
  11. observe

    observe CONTRIBUTOR AH Fanatic

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    kariba-dam-map.jpg zimbabwe-map.gif

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    images.jpg

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    physical-panoramic-map-of-lake-kariba.jpg
     
  12. Takeri Reserve Zambia

    Takeri Reserve Zambia AH Senior Member

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    various, finns bushbuck 256.jpg gates open in contrast to willems photo
     
  13. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    ..and a snorkel.. :tongue:
     
  14. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    What a surfboard ride.....all the way to Madagascar if not over it.
     

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