Friday, February 08, 2008
By HAGGAI CHILABI
ZESCO Limited has opened the spillway gates at Itezhi-Tezhi dam to stop flooding waters from cracking walls of one of the country’s key power generation points, senior manager for marketing and public relations, Monica Chisela said yesterday.
Ms Chisela said an assessment by Zesco hydrology experts had shown that the opening of the spillway gates of the dam have not, however, affected people along the Kafue River because they were warned to vacate in good time.
“However, it was assessed that flooding due to opening of the spillway gates at Itezhi-Tezhi has not reached further downstream of the Kafue Flats yet.
The flooding in most areas of the Kafue Flats is as a result of discharge from the local streams and direct rainfall,” Ms Chisela said.
“A few people (are) still staying in the flooded areas. It is hoped that with the recent warning these people will move to higher ground,” Ms Chisela added.
Ms Chisela said experts noticed that most houses were surrounded by water from rainfall around the Mazabuka area, where roads and other infrastructure have been damaged by floods.
She said most of the flooding in the Kafue Flats was mainly due to heavy rainfall and discharge from streams.
Ms Chisela said a Zseco team assessing the impact of floods also noticed that cattle was losing its hooves in areas around Itezhi-Tezhi dam because of
flooding while some maize fields along the Kafue River banks were under water.
She said Zesco had distributed leaflets to people warning them of the impending opening of the spillway gates and that most people on the banks of the river heeded to???? the advice and left.
Ms Chisela said some animals in the Kafue National Park had moved to higher ground.
The Zambezi River Authority has separately announced that it will open the Kariba Dam spillway gates on Monday to save walls of one of the world’s largest dams from cracking because of swelling waters from Lake Kariba, which is fed by the Zambezi River.
The Government last week said it would launch a campaign to advise people living on riverbanks in the Lower Zambezi and Luangwa River to leave their homes as floods were expected to swamp their homes.
Meanwhile, KANGWA MULENGA reports that Zesco Limited will carry out an independent technical audit of the company infrastructure to identify possible sources of system failures on the national system.
Zesco board chairman, Wamundila Muliokela, said in a statement yesterday that the audit would be independent of management and would also provide a basis for the board of directors to monitor the maintenance of infrastructure to avoid a re-occurrence of the recent power outages.
“The board is committed to be responsible to our customers needs and expectations as we are aware of the fact that collectively Zambians are the ultimate shareholders of this strategic company,” he said.
He appealed to Zesco management and to customers to participate in energy efficiency management programmes.
The board has since expanded the scope of one of the board committees to specifically oversee customer service delivery.
Among the priorities the board would deal with include taking corrective actions on issues affecting Zesco, giving the importance of energy to all sectors of the economy.
He also called for support and understanding from all stakeholders and the general public during the challenging period the company was going through.
“As we implement our strategic intent the support of management and the entire staff of Zesco cannot be overemphasised the support during this period will be most appreciated,” he said.
He said the current power outages were due to power deficits and the ongoing rehabilitation programme.
“The board will ensure that the power rehabilitation programme is accelerated and completed as quickly as possible,” he said.