Botswana project poses fresh threat to Victoria Falls
Monday, 10 January 2011 11:00
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
THE attractiveness of the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the natural
wonders of the world, is under threat if Botswana goes ahead with its
planned extraction of large volumes of water from Chombe River for use
in its interior, a cabinet minister has said.
This would affect foreign currency inflows for both Zimbabwe and
Zambia pumped in by tourists who throng the falls annually to witness
the ï¿½smoke that thunders.ï¿½
Botswana has notified other southern African countries of its
intentions to abstract some 30 cubic metres from the Chombe River
where it meets the Zambezi River for a planned irrigation scheme in
the Pandamatenga area and for domestic water supply.
The Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel
Sipepa-Nkomo recently told parliament that Zimbabwe was considering
He, however, noted the project might have serious repercussions on
Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world, which is
1 708 metres wide.
ï¿½They have notified us because the Zamcom (Zambezi Watercourse
Commission) agreement requires them to do that and we are now
considering their submissions,ï¿½ said Sipepa-Nkomo.
ï¿½Though more studies may be necessary, it looks like 30 cubic metres
is a lot of water which might deprive the attractiveness of the
Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires
visitors as much today as it did to David Livingstone in the 1860s.
The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks
and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive
The local people call it ï¿½Mosi-oa-Tunyaï¿½ ï¿½ the smoke that thunders.
Presently, Victoria Fallsï¿½ World Heritage Site status is at the centre
of huge furore following the construction of a restaurant in the rain
The National Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe partnered with
Shearwater and constructed a new development within the core zone of
the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site.
During the festive season, more than 14 000 tourists visited the
Victoria Falls rainforest while major hotels and lodges were fully
Sipepa-Nkomo said Mozambique had also notified Zimbabwe of its
intention to construct Mphanda Nkuwa Dam which is set to generate some
2275MW of electricity for the country.
The dam site, which is on the Zambezi River, lies between Cabora Bassa
dam and the City of Tete in Mozambique.
ï¿½This project is an advantage to Zimbabwe because we can import more
power from Mozambique,ï¿½ Sipepa-Nkomo said.
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