- A crippling drought has gripped Zimbabwe and is strangling Victoria Falls
- The once-mighty waterfall has been reduced to a trickle of its former glory
- There is a debate as to whether it is climate change or just the drought that is responsible
One of the most iconic waterfalls in Africa, known for its torrential waters is little more than a stream. Victoria Falls water levels are severely low as a crippling drought bears down on Zimbabwe.
Briefly.co.za learned that the water levels are at a staggering 11 cm lower than the ten-year average although not the lowest recorded which was in 1995 when the water level was 14 cm below the ten-year average.
Vic Falls is not the only river area to be affected as the Zambezi River is also experiencing low water levels, the lowest since 1995.
The Zambian president, Edgar Lungu, has called it “a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment”.
Lungu continued: “It’s [climate change] a serious problem, a genuine one. And it is surprising when people trivialise it and say ‘climate change is not real.”
“Probably they’re living in a different world. But this world we live in, Zambia, we are feeling the effects of climate change really adversely. And it is impacting on everyone,” said Lungu.
However, the local tourist board does not see climate change as the cause for the low water levels in the Zambezi or Victoria Falls. They claim that low levels are perfectly normal for this time of year according to thesouthafrican.com.
“It’s normal to have low water this time of the year but the falls will never dry in our lifetime. We haven’t had as much water as we have had in the past years but it’s not dry.” - Tourism board.
It is also too early to tell if it is, in fact, climate change that is responsible because climate data is measured over decades and not individual years.
“So it’s sometimes difficult to say this is because of climate change because droughts have always occurred,” explained Harald Kling, a hydrologist at engineering firm Poyry and a Zambezi river expert.
“If they become more frequent, then you can start saying: OK, this may be climate change.”
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