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The Kariba Case Study

Scudder, Thayer (2005) The Kariba Case Study. Social Science Working Paper, 1227. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The Kariba Dam, completed during the second half of the 1950s, was the first mainstream dam built on the Zambezi River. Its construction was partially financed by the largest loan that the World Bank had given up until that time. Considered a successful project even by affected people based on cost benefit analysis, Kariba also involved unacceptable environmental and social impacts. The involuntary resettlement of 57,000 people within the reservoir basin and immediately downstream from the dam was responsible for serious environmental degradation which was one of a number of factors that left a majority of those resettled impoverished. Other factors included inadequate institutional capacity, inadequate opportunities, adverse rural-urban terms of trade, the war for Zimbabwes independence and the bankruptcy of the political economy of Zambia. Built as a single purpose hydro project, Karibas construction drastically altered, and regularized, the Zambezis natural regime. That adversely affected the flood recession agriculture of Zambian villagers living below the dam as well as the size and biodiversity of the Zambezi delta and the productivity of Mozambiques offshore fishery. Failure to properly drawdown the Kariba and Cahora Bassa reservoirs prior to increased rainfall during the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 rainy seasons caused significant downstream loss of life, crops, and village and urban infrastructure in February-March 2000 and 2001.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Kariba Dam, resettlement, impoverishment, government policy, environmental degradation
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1227
Classification Code:JEL: 012, 015, 022, 033
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170808-151727675
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79966
Deposited By: Hanna Storlie
Deposited On:09 Aug 2017 18:12
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:26

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