Wednesday, 18 April 2018


THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) is investigating possible discharge of effluent into the water body by local authorities following discovery of water hyacinth in the river.

Hotels and local authorities dotted along Africa’s fourth longest river are prime suspects for allegedly discharging effluent into the water body as the water hyacinth plant which is popular in sewer infested water bodies, is found near them.

ZRA chief executive officer, Mr Munyaradzi Munodawafa, said this while addressing Victoria Falls Municipality management and ZRA engineers during a tour of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme (BGHES) dam site last Wednesday.

The tour was meant to apprise the local authority of progress made so far towards construction of the $4 billion dam which will generate 2400MW of electricity to be shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
However, there are concerns about the quality of water owing to pollution.

Mr Munodawafa said ZRA will be working with the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and its counterpart in Zambia after noting the water hyacinth near Maramba Hotel, a few kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls.

“We have noted water hyacinth near Maramba Hotel and we don’t know if it’s because of discharge from the hotel. We are also not sure if it’s the same plant that’s at Kariba Dam,” he said.
He said ZRA had undertaken to investigate the issue but was quick to highlight that this was not meant to usurp EMA duties.

ZRA was constituted by the Zambia and Zimbabwe governments to manage the Zambezi River along the two countries’ borders.

“At Kariba what they usually do is to rake the plant to the centre where it gets washed downstream but the problem is that it will affect everyone downstream. So we are assessing how we can come up with a solution to this,” Mr Munodawafa said.

“We have engaged Kariba Town council and we are going to engage Victoria Falls Municipality to make sure there is no discharge into the river so that we prevent pollution and ensure good water quality for the river and for the dam.”

He said ZRA will also assess upstream to establish the source of water hyacinth, an aquatic plant that blocks sunshine and oxygen thereby causing death of living organisms such as fish, frogs and others.
The Batoka Dam wall will be built about 54km downstream from Victoria Falls and its tail end will be at Victoria Falls Hotel near the Victoria Falls Bridge.

Mr Munodawafa implored the VFM to be environmentally conscious in discharge of effluent into the river.

VFM Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube said the local authority has an environmentally friendly sewer management system.

“In terms of prevention of effluent, we don’t discharge into the river. A joint assessment with EMA will be carried out after which we will be able to talk going forward,” he said.
ZRA hopes to start the BGHES project next year and wants to ensure the water quality is safe in the Zambezi River.

The project is a joint initiative by the Zambia and Zimbabwe governments. Chronicle


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