A €64-million contract that will see the three-year Kariba dam plunge pool reshaping works set in motion, was signed by Zambia’s Treasury secretary Fredson Yamba and French construction company Razel-BEC on Wednesday.
The plunge pool reshaping is the first component of the Kariba dam rehabilitation project, which is being funded by the European Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and Sweden, together with the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which operates, maintains and manages the Kariba dam on behalf of the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zambia Finance Minister Felix Mutati said the project would ensure that the dam is operated in compliance with international dam safety standards, noting that the successful operation of the Kariba dam was a “fine example” of bilateral cooperation between the two sovereign States.
Head of the European Union delegation to Zambia, Ambassador Alessandro Mariani added that the contract formed part of a joint Zambia–European Union strategy to improve access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.
For this purpose, the European Union set aside €244-million in the national indicative programme for Zambia from 2014 to 2020, with the plunge pool reshaping one of the first projects to be financed under this programme.
“The plunge pool reshaping will contribute to the improved performance and longevity of the dam. Enlarging the plunge pool will reduce the impact of water jetting resulting from spilling and, therefore, slow the retrogressive erosion of the dam foundation,” ZRA CEO Munyaradzi Munodawafa noted.
Work will start in March, when Razel-BEC mobilises to site, with the contractor’s first tasks to establish a construction camp site, including site offices, accommodation and workshops; construction of access roads to the plunge pool; and the construction of a coffer dam.