PARIS, May 6– A delegation of Zimbabwean and Zambian officials from the Zambezi River Authority has arrived in Paris on a seven-day study visit to dam management organizations in preparation for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam which stands on the Zambezi River which marks the common border of the two countries.

A Zambian national news agency (ZANIS) reports says Zimbabwean Energy and Power Development Ministry Permanent Secretary Partson Mbiriri, who is also chairperson of the ZRA board, is leading the delegation, which is also expected to visit Italy for the same purpose.

Zambian Mines, Energy and Water Development Ministry Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa, who is ZRA Co-Chairperson, is also in the delegation, which is expected to visit the Malpasset dam ruins and Bimont Dam in France.

Mwansa told the media on arrival here that it was imperative that the ZRA learn experiences of France nd Italy on the way the two countries have handled their Emergency Preparedness Plans (EPP) for their respective dams.

She said the ZRA was engaging the French since they were the ones who designed the Kariba Dam, which has been reported to have some structural defects.

“The company which built the Malpasset Dam here, is the same company that designed the Kariba Dam, so it is important that we see how they manage their dams here”, she explained.

Earlier, Mbiriri had said the rehabilitation works on the Kariba Dam were expected to cost about 220 million US dollars. Mbiriri said once funds were mobilized, the rehabilitation works would last two years.

He said since the Kariba Dam was constructed in the 1950s, the six spill gates had not been replaced. “It is for this reason that the rehabilitation works will include replacement of the spill gates, and remodeling of the plunge pool at the dam”, he said.

The management structure of the ZRA comprises the Council of Ministers consisting of four members holding Energy and Finance portfolios in the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The permanent secretaries — the top civil servants in the ministries — with Energy portfolios in the two governments alternately chair the board of directors, which is responsible for the policy, control and management of the authority, with Zimbabwe currently the chairperson.

Other members include two representatives from the Ministries of Finance portfolios and two independent members from the contracting countries.

The delegation also comprises members of the ZRA executive management who include the chief executive officer and three three directors for Corporate Affairs and Finance, Water and Resources, Environmental Management as well as for Projects and Dam Safety.