23 May 2019

Namibia: Khomas Faces Worst Drought in 90 Years

THE Khomas region is experiencing its worst drought in 90 years, according to official rainfall figures released by the Namibia Meteorological Service this week.

The region received less than a third of its normal quantity of rainfall over the past rainy season from October last year to the end of April this year. The bulk of the north-central regions of the country received about a third of their normal seasonal rainfall, and most of the Erongo, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions recorded less than 40% of their normal rainfall totals, figures released by the weather service show.

The Meteorological Service also reported that while the eastern parts of the Zambezi region received between 60% and 80% of their normal seasonal rainfall totals during the 2018/19 rainy season, the situation was worse in the western parts of the region, which has ended up experiencing its worst drought in the last 59 years.

At the weather service's head office in Windhoek, 106,7 millimetres of rain was measured during the past rainy season - the lowest annual figure since 1929/30, when a seasonal total of 97 mm was recorded at the same spot.

The past rainy season has also been drier in Windhoek than during the 1981/82 season, when a total of 126,2 mm of rain was recorded at the Windhoek Met Office during a severe drought that had Namibia in its grips.

Windhoek's total rainfall during a normal rainy season is around 355 mm.

The end-of-season rainfall bulletin also shows that the situation is even more serious at Witvlei in the Omaheke region, where only 67 mm of rain was recorded from October to April. This is 79% below the normal seasonal total of 317,7 mm.

At Steinhausen, north-west of Gobabis, a near-normal rainfall total of 317,5 mm was recorded from October to April, though - only 8% below the normal seasonal total of 343,7 mm.

At Rundu, 334 mm of rain was recorded from October 2018 to the end of April 2019 - 41% below the town's normal seasonal rainfall total of 568,6 mm.

The rainfall total of 168,7 mm recorded at Ondangwa during the past rainy season is 63% below the town's normal seasonal total of 450,8 mm. At Grootfontein, the seasonal total came to 230,2 mm at the end of April, which is 57% below the town's normal figure of 540,3 mm.

In the southern part of the Kunene region, 105,6 mm of rain was recorded at Khorixas during the past rainy season. That is 52% below its normal seasonal total of 220,4 mm.

The seasonal total of 31 mm measured at Gochas is 82% lower than the normal total rainfall of 176,4 mm in that part of in the Hardap region during an average rainy season.

At Keetmanshoop, 36,2 mm of rain was measured during the past rainy season - 76% below the //Kharas town's normal seasonal total of 151 mm.

The failed rainy season is also reflected in the levels of the main dams supplying water to Windhoek. On Monday, the Von Bach and Swakoppoort dams were storing a combined 29 million cubic metres of water - compared to about 55 million cubic metres a year ago, and more than 62 million cubic metres at the same stage in 2017.

According to the City of Windhoek, city residents again failed to meet water saving targets over the past week. While the city has set a weekly water consumption target of no more than 465 000 cubic metres, actual consumption recorded over the past week was 497 332 cubic metres of water.

Water restrictions in the city are set to be tightened from the start of July.

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