Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - www.zambezibookcompany.com

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Batoka Dam 'minimal impact' on World Heritage Site

Some old reference material on the Batoka Gorge Dam, from a UNESCO World Heritage Centre document (1992). Note according to these documents, the lake created by the Batoka Gorge Dam will 'flood up to the third gorge which is about 10 km inside the World Heritage site' but will have 'minimum impacts' on the World Heritage Site. I first read this to mean 10km below the Falls, but it must in fact mean the lake floods 10km up into the World Heritage Site. This is just below the exisiting Victoria Falls Hydro-power Station outlet.

'The Bureau noted that a proposal to construct a dam across the Batoka Gorge could flood some parts of this transfrontier World Heritage site and that the World Heritage Centre has informed the group of consultant engineers who are undertaking an environmental impact assessment of the dam construction project of potential threats to the integrity of this site. The Bureau requested the Secretariat to contact the States Parties concerned and obtain more information on the proposed dam construction project for submission to the Committee in December 1992.

'Since the plans for the construction of the dam across the Batoka Gorge have been drawn up in Zimbabwe, a letter to the national authorities was sent on 14 August 1992, explaining the Bureau's concerns and requesting more information. A copy of that letter was sent to the Zambian authorities. In his reply of 8 October 1992, the Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management of Zimbabwe has informed the World Heritage Centre that the dam to be built at the Batoka Gorge will flood up to the third gorge which is about 10 km inside the World Heritage site and he is of the view that this change in the ecology of the site will have minimum impacts. The Director has also informed the World Heritage Centre that his Department accepts this development project owing to its minimum impact and the fact that it will produce power under favourable environmental conditions, in contrast to the alternative of thermal power production.

'Since the information provided by the Director, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, Zimbabwe, has revealed a threat to the integrity of this trans-frontier World Heritage property, the World Heritage Centre has requested IUCN to verify the information and advise the Committee on possible actions that may be taken to protect the integrity of this site.

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