Victoria Falls

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Batoka Power Scheme Revisited

Batoka Power Scheme Revisited

Batoka Gorge Power Scheme Revisited
Batoka Gorge Power Scheme Revisited


It was announced in February that Zambia and Zimbabwe have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding to develop the 1,600 megawatt Batoka Hydro Power Station. It is estimated the project could cost in excess of US$4 billion. Advanced feasibility studies will now be commissioned and proposals to secure funding drawn up.

The project was initially proposed in 1993, but a major obstacle to the agreement has been the outstanding settlement of debts owed to Zambia by Zimbabwe from the division of assets which were jointly owned by the two countries during the period of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, when the Kariba Hydro Power Station was built. It was announced in January that Zimbabwe had agreed to pay off more than $70 million in settlement of this issue, paving the way for the February’s agreement.

The proposed Batoka site is located approximately 50 km below the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. Once completed it would supply 800 MW of power to each of the two countries. It is also believed that the project could enhance generating capacity at Kariba power station, downstream of the Batoka Gorge site, by 300 MW.

Zimbabwe suffers from a power deficit and desperately needs to boost power generating facilities within the country, currently importing a third of its needs from neighbouring countries. A wider power deficit is expected to grow across the region in the next few years, threatening the longer term availability of power imports to Zimbabwe.

The proposed hydro-electric dam and lake would flood large sections of the Batoka Gorge and there are concerns over the environmental impact of the project. There are also concerns within the tourism industry as to how the project will affect activities at Victoria Falls, especially the world renowned white-water rafting

Read more on the Batoka Gorge Dam in the Zambezi Traveller:
Batoka gorge dam one step closer (ZT, Issue 09, June 2012)
Batoka Gorge Dam: to be or not to be? (ZT, Issue 12, March 2013)

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 08, March 2012)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Victoria Falls