Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique

Following a report by FloodList regarding degradation of the Kariba Dam along the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, Marc Hartman at HKV Consultants contacted us regarding his work on potential floods resulting from a dambreach in the Cahora Bassa dam in Mozambique, which we have included below.

Cahora Bassa Dam

Reports mention that in case this dam fails, it will lead to the destruction of Cahora Bassa, another large dam further downstream. The Cahora Bassa dam is of great economic importance: with a capacity of 2000 MW it supplies energy for Mozambique and South Africa. Lake Cahora Bassa is also a source of income and food for many families in the area, as there is plenty of fish in the lake.

An animation of the potential flood resulting from a dambreach in the Cahora Bassa dam can be seen below:

The movie shows the general inundation pattern downstream of the dam and also a more detailed inundation (shown below) around the city of Tete, the largest city along the Zambezi River in Mozambique.

The flood wave reaches Tete (with a population of more than 150.000) about 10 hours after the breach. The peak arrives after 24 hours. The maximum water levels show an increase of more than 10 m, going up to 20 m on some locations. The impact of citizens living in the flood prone area is almost unthinkable.

It is strongly recommended to closely monitor the stability of the Kariba dam and in the meantime set up a transboundary early warning system to warn the people at risk in case the dam fails and test possible evacuation routes.

For more information please contact Marco Hartman at at HKV Consultants or phone +31 320 294223.