French engineering firm Razel-Bec has been awarded a contract by Zambia and Zimbabwe to perform dam safety repairs at the 1,830-MW Kariba hydroelectric plant.
Located in on the Zambezi River between the two African countries, erosion under the project’s 128-meter tall, 579-meter long dam has created swelling along its face and fear that the structure could eventually fail.
Should Kariba Dam break, the reservoir would threaten more than 3.5 million people in Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as residents further down the Zambezi River in Mozambique and Malawi.
The repairs will be overseen by binational operator Zambezi River Authority using a US$294 million funding package. The financing, which includes money from ZRA, the African Development Bank, European Union, Swedish government and World Bank Group, was announced in September 2015 but not finalized until earlier this week.
The deal will allow Razel-Bec to reshape the plunge pool beneath Kariba and make repairs to the dam’s spillway. ZRA officials said they expect work on the plunge pool to be complete by 2021, and work on the spillway to be finished in 2022.
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