The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) says public consultation on the draft Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the development of the 2400MW Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme (BGHES) located 47km downstream of the Victoria Falls has begun.
ZRA Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the disclosure meetings and radio broadcasts were scheduled to run from 23rd November to 11th December 2020, covering districts on both sides of the Zambezi River in the Zambia and Zimbabwe, along the project stretch.
“The disclosure meetings are aimed at ensuring that the project stakeholders are not left out in the project development process. The commenting period on the draft ESIA report will end on the 25th January 2020, after which the comments received will be used to further update the draft ESIA report.
“The updated ESIA report will then be submitted to regulatory authorities for their further consideration and guidance. The engagement of the project area communities is part of a framework of on-going efforts to ensure that adequate and acceptable mitigation measures have been developed under the ESMP (Environmental and Social Management Plan) of the draft ESIA report under disclosure,” he said.
ZRA is a bi-national organization with a mandate to operate and manage the Kariba dam and its reservoir as well as sustainably harness the hydropower potential offered by the waters of the Zambezi River that form the common border between the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe, for the socio-economic and industrial development of the peoples of the two countries.
In meeting its mandate, the Authority has been undertaking the preparatory activities for the development of the BGHES. Among the preparatory studies, working with its BGHES-ESIA studies consultant; the Environmental Resources Management of South Africa; the national power utilities; Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and ZESCO Limited; the Environmental Management Agency of Zimbabwe and Zambia Environmental Management Agency, the authority has undertaken ESIA studies.