• Short Summary

    The dam and hydro-electric power station at Zambia's Kafue Gorge, which will be opened officially by President Kaunda in the new year, are already in operation and working well.

  • Description

    The dam and hydro-electric power station at Zambia's Kafue Gorge, which will be opened officially by President Kaunda in the new year, are already in operation and working well.

    The government project is situated about 40 miles (64 kilometres) south of Lusaka. It is sited at a spot where the Kafue river falls about 2,000 feet (600 metres) over a series of rapids. The sudden drop - which comes after the river has slowly wound its way across the Kafue flats. - takes the river through thirteen miles (21 kilometres) of the Kafue George to the Zambesi River Plain.

    The maximum power output of the hydro-electric plant is 600 megawatts. This is produced by four generating units initially, thought there is provision for two further units. The primary stage has cost about 60 million Kwacha (about 35 million pounds sterling, 84 million US dollars). Originally there were plans for an upstream reservoir to ensure the water supply to the dam is constant, but this part of the project was postponed until 1976, as the Zambian government decided instead to proceed with an extension to the existing Kariba dam power scheme on the Zambian side of the dam, which is shared with Rhodesia.

    Associated with the Kafue dam is a settlement of nearly 6,000 people. Although the initial buildings were designed to house construction workers, a township will remain consisting of people working on operating and maintaining the project. The settlement has full facilities including provision for education, cultural, recreational and commercial activities, as well as administrative offices.

    SYNOPSIS: A new lake has appeared in Zambia. It has formed behind the dam built in the Kafue George, about 40 miles south of Lusaka.

    The dam and hydro-electric power station are already in operation, although the official opening will not take place until next year. There are four generators installed at the moment, which can produce up to six hundred megawatts, and there are provisions to install two more.

    The first stage of the project has cost about thirty-five million pounds sterling.

    The site is at a spot where the Kafue river drops suddenly, after meandering for miles across the Kafue flats. It falls nearly two thousand feet to the floor of the gorge, where it flows thirteen miles to the Zambesi river plain.

    The dam and power station were built by a Yugoslav firm, with a Swedish company acting as overall consultants.

    Nearly six thousand people are working on the project, and many of them will stay on to operate it. A permanent township is being built to house them and it has full facilities, including provision for education, sport and culture.

    One fear with dams such as this, is that the river flow will not always be sufficient. Originally, there were plans to create a reservoir upstream of the dam, to maintain a reserve of water for such emergencies. But the scheme was shelved in favour of building an extra power station on the nearby Kariba complex.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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