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Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report for the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project (Zambia and Zimbabwe) on the Zambezi River Part I

29 May 2020

The Kariba Dam is a double curvature concrete arch dam located in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi River Basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The arch dam was constructed between 1956 and 1959 and supplies water to two underground hydropower plants located on the north bank in Zambia and on the south bank in Zimbabwe. Water is released from the reservoir through six sluice gates. In the first 20 years after the dam was constructed there were sustained heavy spillage episodes resulting in erosion of the bedrock to 80 m below the normal water level. This situation could lead to the increased risk of dam failure due to the stability of the dam being undermined. Moreover, the six sluice gates that make up the spillway have been distorted over the years due to an advanced alkali-silica reaction in the concrete. This situation presents sluice gate operational challenges with regards to their use in flood control operations at Kariba.

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