Lake Kariba fills to 86%

Wild Zambezi • 2 August 2018

In mid July 2018, the water levels of Lake Kariba rose to their highest levels since 2013, peaking at a level of 486.90m (86% full, as measured by the Zambezi River Authority).

The hydro-electric scheme for which Kariba Dam and its Lake were created in the late 1950s, is designed to operate between levels 475.50m and 488.50m with 0.70m freeboard at all times.

With inflows from the year's excellent rains now starting to decline, the levels are now dropping.  On 31 July 2018 the measurement was 486.74m.  Last year on the same date, the Lake level was nearly 4 metres lower at 482.88m (54% full).

Many of the islands of Lake Kariba have become inundated, and some, including Spurwing Island (pictured below) have water levels lapping against their harbour walls!

The high water levels can prove a problem for grazing animals trapped on islands, as shoreline grasses are inundated.  See: A modern-day Operation Noah rescues animals trapped on Lake Kariba islands (May 2018)  

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