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Africa’s biggest waterfall at risk from drought

Posing a risk to tourism and energy generation in the nation.
Aerial view of the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia, and Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe. Image: Bloomberg

The flow at Africa’s biggest waterfall is at its lowest since 1995, highlighting the threat posed by a drought to tourism and electricity generation in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Flow has slumped to 109 cubic meters-per-second (3 850 cubic feet) at Victoria Falls, a 1.7-kilometre (1.1 mile) curtain of falling water at the peak of a normal wet season, according to the Zambezi River Authority. The falls on the Zambezi river straddle the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and the flow of the watercourse fills the Kariba Dam, the site of the two countries’ largest power plants.

The drought threatens to deter tourists from visiting the site, could curtail a lucrative white-water rafting industry in the gorge below the cataract and may see the power plants at Kariba shut down, worsening power cuts in both countries. Elephants at nearby game parks are dying of hunger, further damaging the tourism industry.

“Some of the tourism products that we boast of can be a thing of the past if climate change and global warming are not quickly addressed,” said Godfrey Koti, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

Key among Victoria Falls’ attractions is a rain-forest fed by the spray of the thundering waters. That spray gives Victoria Falls’ its local name – Mosi Oa Tunya – The Smoke That Thunders.

“Rafting activities and visits to the rain-forest have declined,” said Clement Mukwasi, president of the Employers Association for Tourism and Safari Operators. “There isn’t much that we can do except for us as an industry to promote awareness of climate change.”

The flow at the falls is volatile. The lowest on record is 99 cubic meters-per-second in October 1996 while the record is 6 172 cubic meters-per-second in April 1977, according to the authority.

This year’s paucity, which has left Kariba 15% full, has already cut power generation at the Zimbabwean plant to just over a 10th of its usual output.

”We are dangerously close to a level where we have to cut off power generation, “ Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s finance minister, told lawmakers in Victoria Falls town on Thursday.

Read: Seven million. That’s the number of Zimbabweans in need of food

Rains in Zimbabwe normally begin in November and end around April.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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Climate change. Climate change.Climate change.Climate change.Climate change.Climate change.Climate change. The vile dishonest propagandists never let up for a minute misleading the gullible sheeple.

Let us ask a valid question that any scientist worth his/ her salt would ask: “what EVIDENCE do you have that rainfall has declined in the catchment are?” or maybe ” What EVIDENCE do you have that climate change will lead to increased drought?”

Don’t bother looking There is none.

“what EVIDENCE do you have that rainfall has declined in the catchment are?”

Pretty sure most people learnt how to measure rainfall in grade 2. They also learn to spell ‘area’ around the same age.

Oh my Dear, Richard The Great Arch conservative, hardegat, verkrampte stuck in his contrarian mindset that when left leaning liberals support the ideas of climate change, it must be wrong.
Just in the same way as the Big Leader of these not so well educated The Donald, the Narcissist, wants above all to prove that he can do anything better than his predecessor Barack Obama.
Delusional and childish.
Oh, and BTW, by the way that pic is clearly not recent as it shows the Falls quite full, with plenty of spray and mist.
The Zambian prez put a few quite different pics on Twitter on Oct 1.

The earth expiences a cycle of Ice Ages and warm periods. The last Ice age was about 10000 years ago.
The cycle is approximately a Sine wave. During the last Ice age the mean sea level on the East Coast of South Africa was about 100 m lower than the current level.
We do not know when the current warm period will peak and we start worrying about tidal levels trending down. Virtually every major river running into the ocean at our latitude has a channel about 100m below the current river bed.
Whilst mankind is having some negative impact on climate change it is likely that once the warm part of the cyclic Ice age peaks and average temperatures get colder we will experience lower tide levels that introduce a completely different set of concerns.

Careful. The semi-literate lefties educated by popular science and Youtube will label you a “climate change denialist” which clearly must be worse than death.

My personal opinion is very much that of course the world goes through cycles and always has. It is always going to be either in a heating up or cooling down phase and if you look at how cycles work (generally following a sine wave) you will see parts that show accelerated change.

The climate change movement is one of the greatest cons in history. They are getting governments to change laws that ultimately force market changes to buy new products to replace old banned ones and so the money machine continues.

Of course if you tell them this is then you are a “climate change denialist” as opposed to simply calling BS on the cause being human-based.

The biggest problem is that this conflation between “denialism” and “correction of facts” will continue because nobody is going to stop the world from going through these cycles.

The climate’s always been changing, it’s been hotter in the past, co2 has been higher, nothing to worry about.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The world has close to 8Bn people on it. These 8bn did not arrive here during the last ice age, or the Pliocene, they all got here in the climate of the last 100 years, and especially the last 50 years.

This is the climate that matters, nothing else – and this is the climate we are destroying at a rate faster than any other time in the historical record.

Yes, the earth is going to survive this, but a lot of life on earth, including many of the 8bn, will not.

The deniers have many ways of countering the facts but anyone who has been alive for more than 50 years can attest to climate change from personal experience.

The whole world is sleepwalking into this crisis and by now it’s too late for meaningful action. Yes, if we all go zero carbon in 10 years it’ll be okay.

This is probably the only point on which some of these commentators and I agree: there’s no chance of this happening, even if there were not a single climate denier on earth.

I tend to hold a similar view, not sufficent schooled in the sciences, to hold a a vie on C02 emissions being a casue, but when I look around and see the pollution everywhere… its clear that humans are destructive and busy ruining this planet…

I lean towards a commentators Penunga / TheSpark / RichardTheGreat.

“Climate change has been monetized” way out of proportion as to what % humans had a role in it. It benefits both govts through taxes & corporates through creating new products/control of human behaviour.

Don’t slain me now…I understand that human over-population is bad news for depleting the earth’s natural resources. But let’s separate it from the issue of ‘climate change’. Not the same thing.

No-one denies climate change….it’s a natural phenomenon since 4,5bn yrs ago when earth was formed (or created for those inclined). Earth went through 5 Ice Age periods to date, the last one started 2,6bn years ago, and ended ‘fairly recently’ (on earth’s timeline) about 12-10,000 yrs ago. That what’s formed our current glaciers. We are slowly exiting the previous Ice Age…obviously it will become warmer (with or without human activity).

My question always is “what % had human activity an active role to play 2,6bn yrs ago, when climate changed into an Ice Age”?? How many humans were there on earth 2,6bn yrs ago?? (less than 4mil). It was less than 1/2000th of today’s 8bn people. Yet, there was serious climate change…albeit going cooler.

(Also look at human pop growth the last few centuries…3rd image is scary)

Why the explosion of human population? Part of answer is the human intellectual ability to adapt to environmental change, as we learn science the past few centuries. We grow crops & started to farm animals. The human reigns supreme (for it’s own good or bad).

ONE EXAMPLE what makes us humans so cleverly adabtible to situational change…is the ability to monetize earth’s always present ‘climate change’. That must be one of humanity’s brilliant feats….i.e. to be able to live off other human’s monetary prospects, making the majority to fund the few in the know (survival instinct?), without killing involved.

Let’s not be worried about ‘climate change’. (It is happening, with or without human activity. The question remains what % of such change is due to human activity? The answer could be smaller than you realise).
Let’s rather be concerned about the depletion of earth’s natural resources.

End of comments.





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