The drought-prone Kunene region faces yet another looming dry spell, if current rain patterns and forecasts for the region are anything to go by.
The latest flood bulletin released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform paints a gloomy picture of the prospects of rain for the Kunene region, with the region having received relatively minimal showers since the onset of the rainy season.
According to the bulletin, normal to below-normal rainfall is predicted for the Kunene region for the next three months of the country’s rainy season.
Similar rain patterns are also predicted for the arid desert plains and dunes of western Namibia.
Normal to above-normal rainfall is however predicted for the remainder of the country, with certain parts already receiving good showers over the past two weeks or so.
The north-eastern, south-eastern, and of late, north-central areas of the country have been consistently wet with above-normal rainfall received in these areas.
Overall, rainfall performance during the first part of the rainy season was poor over most parts of the country.
Flows have been observed in some of the country’s central, southern and west flowing ephemeral rivers due to heavy rains in their catchments over the past days. Streams in Windhoek were in flood due to heavy rainfall these past few days, with the Klein Windhoek River going above the 1.2 m mark on 19 January 2022.
High floods were already observed on the lower Orange River during the first week of January. The ministry warned that the situation requires close monitoring and high-level alertness, as a flood on the lower Orange River could be imminent.
According to the bulletin, the water levels along the lower Orange River are medium high and are increasing due to the medium high releases from Bloemhof Dam and increasing outflow from Vanderkloof Dam.
The flows are forecast to increase significantly, having started over the weekend and possibly rising beyond 3 200m3 /s by mid next week.
From Namibia’s side, NamWater made releases at both Naute and Hardap dams on Friday morning.
These releases and further rainfall development in the Orange-Fish catchment will add to the ongoing flows in the Fish River and high flows in the lowest part of the lower Orange River downstream of the Fish-Orange confluence, the ministry said.
In north-eastern Namibia, the Zambezi and Okavango rivers continue to rise. The Zambezi River at Katima Mulilo recorded 1.29m while the Okavango River at Rundu recorded 4.14m on Friday. The water levels for the two rivers are lower compared to the same period last year.
Flows in the Kunene River remain low during this time of the year. Contingency planning for flood risk mitigation and recovery must be activated, especially for flood prone areas as more rains are forecasted for this rainy season, the ministry warned.
The country’s major dams received significant inflow due to heavy rains and floods in their catchment areas during the past few weeks. The content of the country›s major water supply dams is relatively high and stood 74.7% on 17 January 2022.