Cahora Bassa Dam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cahora Bassa Dam
STS51B-51-14- Lake Cahora Bassa.jpg
Lake Cahora Bassa
Cahora Bassa Dam is located in Mozambique
Cahora Bassa Dam
Location of Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique
Location Tete, Mozambique
Coordinates 15°35′09″S 32°42′17″E / 15.58583°S 32.70472°E / -15.58583; 32.70472Coordinates: 15°35′09″S 32°42′17″E / 15.58583°S 32.70472°E / -15.58583; 32.70472
Construction began 1969
Opening date 1974
Dam and spillways
Impounds Zambezi River
Height 171 m (561 ft)
Creates Cahora Bassa Lake
Total capacity 55.8 km3 (45,200,000 acre·ft)
Catchment area 56,927 km2 (21,980 sq mi)
Surface area 2,739 km2 (1,058 sq mi)
Maximum water depth 157 m (515 ft)
Power station
Turbines 5 × 415 MW (557,000 hp) Francis-type
Installed capacity 2,075 MW (2,783,000 hp)

The Cahora Bassa Dam is a dam in Mozambique. It is one of the three major dams on the Zambezi river system, the others being the Kariba and the Itezhi-Tezhi, the latter on the Kafue River, a tributary of the Zambezi.


Cahora Bassa Dam upstream view

The dam began to fill in December 1974 after construction was commenced in 1969 by the Portuguese colonial government of Mozambique (Portugal), and is 171 metres (561 ft) high by 303 metres (994 ft) wide at the crest. Built in the first half of the 1970s when Mozambique was still a Portuguese territory, long stretches of the power transmission lines were sabotaged during 16 years of Mozambican Civil War which ended in 1992.

The lake has reached a maximum length and width of approximately 250 kilometres (160 mi) and 38 kilometres (24 mi) respectively, flooding an area of 2,700 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi) with an average depth of 20.9 metres (69 ft).[1]

Power stations[edit]

The Cahora Bassa system is the largest hydroelectric scheme in southern Africa with the powerhouse containing five 415 megawatts (557,000 hp) turbines. Most of the power generated is exported to South Africa, which is done by the Cahora Bassa HVDC system, a set of High voltage direct current lines. The system includes two converter stations, one at Songo in Mozambique and the other at Apollo in South Africa. There are two parallel power lines between these two stations, covering 1,400 km, of which 900 km is in Mozambican territory. These HVDC lines work at 533 kV and in Mozambique territory only have about 4,200 towers.

See also[edit]