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Lake Kariba is Struggling to Power Residents

Zambia is facing severe water and electricity shortages after a lengthy drought, with reservoir levels remaining worryingly low despite recent rains. Water levels in Lake Kariba, the world’s largest artificial lake at more than 5,500 sq km, have dropped by six metres in the past three years. In early March, available water for hydroelectric production at the Kariba dam, which spans the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, was about 11.5%, a slight recovery on the record low in January. A year earlier, hydro levels at the lake exceeded 42%. When running at capacity, the hydroelectric plant produces more than 2.1GW of electricity. It is now restricted to about a quarter of capacity, leading to frequent power outages across both countries, with many businesses relying on diesel generators for eight hours a day.