Hydrological drought looms for Namibia’s perennial rivers

24 May 2019 16:50pm
RUNDU, 24 MAY (NAMPA) – Due to low rainfall received across the country and neighbouring countries like Angola and Zambia, Namibia is likely to experience a hydrological drought as water levels in most local perennial rivers continue to drop.
This was said by the head of the Namibia Hydrological Service, Pauline Mufeti in an interview with Nampa.
Mufeti said the country is faced with a looming hydrological drought as water levels in both the Kavango and Zambezi rivers and other perennial rivers like the Orange River are low due to the deficit in rainfall received in the country.
She said the Kavango River has the low level of water at this stage because the Kwando Cubango catchment in Angola did not receive enough rainfall, while the Zambezi River is also faced with the same situation due to insufficient rainfall received in Zambia as its waters emanate from there.
“The river levels in Kavango and Zambezi are dropping enormously compared to the past five years because of the poor rainy season we had, contributing to the two catchments receiving inadequate amounts of water,” said Mufeti.
The chief hydrologist said the level of the Kavango River at the Rundu station is supposed to be at 5.5 metres (m) but is currently at 4.40m - which is below its normal reading during this time of year.
According to the Wednesday flood bulletin, the Kavango River was at 5.85m in 2017.
Moreover, Mufeti said comparing with previous years, the current Kavango River level indicates that by September, the water level will be at a critically low level.
The levels of the Zambezi River at the Katima Mulilo station continue to get worse as it now stands at 2.10m. Last year during the same period, the river measured 6.37m.
However, Mufeti was quick to note that people should not panic as it does not mean the water will completely dry out, simply that the water flow will be low.
“The community that uses the river may just take note and take precautionary measures because of the hydrological drought we are about to experience,” she cautioned.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), hydrological drought is when deficiencies occur in surface and subsurface water supplies.