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World’s Largest Manmade Dam Has Less Than 1% of Usable Water

  • Water levels at the Kariba reservoir are at a record low
  • Tourism, fishing, power industry hit by depleted dam levels
The Kariba dam wall between Zimbabwe and Zambia. 
The Kariba dam wall between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Photographer: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images
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Water levels at the Kariba reservoir plunged to a record low of less than 1%, curtailing power supply to Zambia and Zimbabwe and shuttering the tourism and fishing industries.

The dam, which is the world’s largest human-made based on water-storage capacity, had 0.97% usable storage on Dec. 28, compared with 20% a year earlier, according to data available on the Zambezi River Authority’s website. That’s less than the previous low set almost three decades ago. Normally, water levels start rising in January.