Save the Zambezi River

$310 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 3 people in 1 month
Created February 2, 2019
Don’t sit back and let the Batoka Gorge of the Zambezi River be dammed!

Damming the Batoka Gorge is like damming the Grand Canyon. We will lose our heritage and the damage is irreversible. 

Quick points:
-       We need to stop this dam happening!
-       The International Rafting Federation, International Rivers and the Africa Paddling Association are leading this action
-       We need everyone to help by:
        o   Contributing to the funding (every little bit helps!)
        o   Signing up to register as an Interested and                Affected Party and register your objection to the project with the environmental consultants, ERM by emailing Nadia Mol  
       o   Share this campaign to all your networks
-       Funds are needed to:
       o   create campaign material
       o   publish the issue world wide
       o   attend SEIA consultation meeting in Vic Falls
       o   consult an environmental lawyer
       o   have someone keeping on top of the issue and the campaign
-       More funds may be needed later, but we feel this is a good target to start with.

What is being dammed?
The Batoka Dam is a joint Zambian-Zimbabwean project and has been talked about for many years. The formal EIA process started a few years ago and then halted, but has recently restarted. Both countries want to restart the project (likely political reasons but not yet confirmed).

When full, the dam (built to generate hydroelectric power), would flood the Batoka Gorge to just below Victoria Falls where the one day and multi-day river rafting trips are run.

Really? A dam in this day and age?
In the face of climate change it is insane to keep investing in large hydro projects on the Zambezi River basin; a region vulnerable to extreme droughts (multi-year droughts) and floods that occur nearly every decade. Drought induced power shortages are likely to increase according to climate change predictions.

There are rapidly growing alternatives that are cheaper and have less negative effects. Zimbabwe is very well positioned for solar power. This could be built in smaller sections so as to bring power to the people far more easily that a dam would. Unfortunately solar options have less scope for big business to squeeze money out of countries, and far less options for corrupt politicians to get kickbacks.

Costs financially:
Batoka Gorge Hydro dam will cost upwards of US4 billion dollars to build.  A huge amount beyond what both Zambia and Zimbabwe can afford. Zambia is facing a high risk of “debt distress” and Zimbabwe is already in “debt distress” meaning it is in default on loans to multilateral institutions. In light of this level of debt risk why do both countries wish to indebt their citizens further? Why is the World Bank even putting resources to carry out technical studies for such a project?


Given the economic situation, is this project a good idea?
Given the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe, ditto?

Hidden costs?
The other concern is the deal that may be made with China - if they are unable to keep up with the payments - what will China claim from them ... the towns and Falls themselves? This has been done already in:
-      Zambia where Chinese Exim Bank now has full control over Kenneth Kaunda Airport, Zambia’s main broadcast cooperation and the ZESCO Power plant ;
-      Sri Lanka where they lost a harbour to China ;
-      is threatening to happen in Kenya where they will lose the port of Mombasa ;
-      and other debt traps can be seen here. 

Tourism industry and environmental costs
-       A dam in Batoka Gorge will damage the adventure tourism sector on both sides, which will have an impact of jobs for local raft guides, porters and local communities who make their living as a part of the local commercial rafting community
-       There will be ecological impacts as well, among others, to the breeding habitat of the endangered Taita falcon
-    Big hydro dams are known to be negative from a climate change point of view as well ;
-      Examining pros and cons of hydropower .

Who will the electricity be sold to?

The whole project is based on selling electricity to South Africa (SA) to raise income for Zimbabwe and Zambia – the power will not go to local communities. SA’s renewable energy sector is set to grow - will there even be a demand? SA has already committed to buying power from the Inga3 project – again, will the power from the Batoka dam even have a market?

Possibly best white water rapids in the world:
The world-wide rafting community are horrified at the concept of a dam being built on that section of the Zambezi as it is absolutely recognised as some of the best whitewater in the world. It is especially unique in that it has some of the biggest rapids commercially run and yet is considered a very safe river to run allowing people of all ages and types to enjoy it. So the rafting community are ready to fight this any way they can.
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$310 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 3 people in 1 month
Created February 2, 2019
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