Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric (HCB) has no plans to open its dam’s flood gates during this rainy season, unless precipitation leads to acceptable levels of water storage – which is currently not the case.
HCB hydrologist Gustavo Jessen told Notícias newspaper that the current level of water storage in the reservoir is about 30 billion cubic metres against an ideal 52 billion cubic metres.
With the opening of sluice gates unlikely, Cahora Bassa downstream areas may be less prone to floods, although some risk persist due from rain and flow in some Zambezi tributaries.
Water levels in the dam are currently some four metres below the desired level.
“The water level in the reservoir is very low and therefore, due to storage and containment measures, we will not open the sluice gates this year, except in a completely out-of-the-ordinary scenario,” Gustavo Jessen said.
Based on weather forecasts, rainfall this year across the Zambezi basin during February and March will be above normal, which will contribute to the recovery of water storage and improve HCB’s production quality.
“At this moment the sluice gates of the HCB dam are closed because the reservoir does not have enough water and, if we use too much, we risk incurring other situations contra-indicated in terms of energy production and the safety of the dam wall,” the hydrologist explained.
Jessen acknowledged that in case of heavy rain and increased water levels in the reservoir, the company would be forced to discharge consecutive water to avoid water over-topping the dam wall.
In the case of drought in February and March of this year, the company’s Board of Directors will be obliged to re-think its plans. Source: Notícias