I am prompted to respond and comment on the article entitled “Chobe River Project puts Victoria Falls in danger” which appeared on VictoriaFalls24.com, September 10, 2013.
Right from the onset this matter should cause considerable worry to many people in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Just imagine where we have always had the mighty Victoria Falls, only to end up with a big, pronounced overhang cliff as a permanent feature – all because water upstream has been used in a project for irrigation and domestic use.
Although the article did not give full technical details of the project, the information in the article is adequate to call for comments from concerned members of the public including myself.
Some of the envisaged effects of this project include the following:
•Dwindled or diminished inflow of foreign tourists to Zambia and Zimbabwe and those of local tourists to Livingstone
•Loss of a UNESCO Heritage Site
•Generation of power at the Victoria Falls power station
The Devils Pool could disappear among other things.
I know I am not in a position to stop this project to go ahead but I can make the following points:
•Botswana can extract water further upstream the Chobe River instead of at the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers as this is not likely to affect the flow in the mighty Zambezi.
•Botswana can set up large dams within Botswana itself to store large volumes of water drawn from the Zambezi River during and just after the rainy season when there are large volumes of water flowing down the mighty Zambezi.
This is one the principles of good water conservation/management and is likely to take care of some of the unforeseen changes due to climate change during the course of the project.
•Zambia and her Siamese twin Zimbabwe will have to evaluate, consider and weigh this matter fully.
However, it is a relief to note that there should be enough legal framework through the Zambezi Water Course Commission and perhaps our own Water Act and, of course, diplomatic channels to adequately and satisfactorily address this important and urgent matter.
At the end of the day, I am certain that our Government will serve Zambia’s interests well in this very important matter.
Date: 16 September 2013