Country in grips of drought

Hardap dam

Large parts of Namibia are experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions following the end of the 2022/23 rainy season, the Namibia Meteorological Service is reporting in its latest monthly rainfall bulletin.

The bulk of the //Kharas, Hardap, Erongo, Kunene, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto regions, and also the western part of the Omaheke region, received below-average quantities of rainfall during the 2022/23 rainy season, from October last year to the end of April this year, the meteorological service says in a rainfall bulletin issued on Friday.

The bulletin states that several parts of the country received an uneven distribution of rainfall during the rainy season, with most rainfall recorded during January and not sufficiently followed up by rains afterwards.

Available rainfall records show that Ondangwa has experienced its sixth driest rainy season since the start of recordkeeping in 1902, the report says. For Ondangwa, the 2022/23 rainy season is the third consecutive dry rainfall season since the wet season of 2019/20.

The report also records: “After two consecutive rainy seasons of above-average rainfall, Karasburg in the //Kharas region leapfrogs into an extreme drought situation after managing to accumulate only 21,4mm during the 2022/23 rainfall season. Available data shows that this is the fifth driest rainy season [at Karasburg] since records started in 1913.”

Maltahöhe in the Hardap region, where only 5mm of rain was recorded during the 2022/23 rainy season, is also in an extreme drought situation after two successive rainy seasons of above-average rainfall, the report says.

In the Kunene region, 60 to 80% of rainfall during the 2022/23 season was recorded during January, followed by little to no rain from February to the end of April, the report says.

In Kunene, Kamanjab is experiencing a second consecutive season of drought, which is categorised as extreme, it adds.

The report continues: “The situation in the Omusati region is complicated by late and short rains during the 2021/22 rainfall season, followed by an acutely skew distribution of rainfall during the 2022/23 rainfall season.”

Outapi received 85% of its total rainfall of about 383mm over the past rainy season during January, while at Oshikuku 65% of the seasonal total of 143mm was also recorded in January.

Seasonal rainfall totals in 2022/23 for some locations in Namibia as reported by the meteorological service, compared to normal rainfall totals in brackets, include:

Katima Mulilo 506mm (565mm)
Rundu 399mm (537mm)
Eenhana 453mm (529 mm)
Ondangwa 192 mm (415mm)
Outapi 382mm (327mm)
Namutoni 408mm (428mm)
Okaukuejo 164mm (356mm)
Tsumkwe 311mm (431mm)
Grootfontein 505mm (512mm)
Otjiwarongo 451mm (387mm)
Kamanjab 166mm (290mm)
Opuwo 87mm (299mm)
Sesfontein 38mm (99mm)
Fransfontein 133mm (279mm)
Omaruru 149mm (271mm)
Eiseb 230 mm (384mm)
Windhoek 453mm (344mm)
Rehoboth 180mm (212mm)
Mariental 107mm (171mm)
Maltahöhe 54mm (137mm)
Aranos 136mm (189mm)
Tses 83mm (120mm)
Keetmanshoop 71mm (137mm)
Bethanie 25mm (104mm)
Karasburg 21mm (105mm)

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