Zimbabweans are being subjected to 19 hours of power cuts a day, because water levels in Kariba Dam are currently too low to drive the nation’s main hydropower plant.
The level of usable water in Kariba, which is the world’s largest man-made reservoir and is tapped by both Zambia and Zimbabwe, stood at 4.1% as of Nov. 28, a record low, according to the Zambezi River Authority, which manages water supply for the two southern African nations.
The latest wrench in Zimbabwe’s power crisis began at the end of November, when the hydro plant in the Kariba Dam had to be switched off for lack of volume passing through its turbines, according to the Zambezi River Authority which manages the water supply.
The blackouts have wreaked havoc on small businesses which include supermarkets, saloons and some other businesses rely on generators and solar to keep operating, but they are unable to run them perpetually for an extended period.
Traffic lights are no longer working unless they are solarized.
Most families have stopped buying perishables in bulk, especially meat because butchers are hit badly by the outages and at home meat in the freezers is getting stale because of no electricity.
Government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana in a tweet said:
“The power cuts are causing distress, inconvenience and cost to the citizenry and business. This is regrettable.”
Whilst, senior government official, Gloria Magombo recently said Zimbabwe was importing electricity from neighbouring South Africa – which is also suffering recurring power shortages due to old and poorly maintained plants.
Football fans are also facing challenges if they have no solar or generator at home, they are forced to go to the bars to watch soccer mainly ‘World Cup’ whilst those who do not enjoy watching soccer at the pub tend to miss matches.
Zimbabwe also generates power from Hwange – its largest coal-fired power station – but the plant is currently operating at less than half its capacity due to poor maintenance.