Vic Falls water levels 'slowly rising'

HARARE - Water levels at Victoria Falls are slowly rising due to rains received in the Zambezi Valley catchment area, authorities said.

The water levels at the alluring holiday destination dropped to an all-time low between October and November last year since 1995, echoing the 1992 drought.

Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world and is Zimbabwe’s main tourist attraction, and a major revenue earner.

The Zambezi River Authority said in a statement: “Flows at Victoria Falls continued slowly rising due to rainfall activities being recorded around the catchment. The end of week flow was 479 cubic metres per second (m3/s), which is about 20 percent lower than the flow recorded last year on the same date.”

The authority recorded 436 m3/s on January 12, 442 m3/s on January 13 and a continued rise during the week to 474 m3/s on January 17 and 479 m3/s on January 18.

Rafting Association of Zimbabwe chairman Skinner Ndlovu said daily water level readings from a hydrological station gauge upstream of Victoria Falls showed that the Zambezi River has been rising by 0,5 cm a day since December 25.

“We are now just 15cm below the average water level of the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls at this time of the year,” Ndlovu said in a statement.

“Low rainfall in the catchment area north of Victoria Falls during the 2014-2015 rainy season brought the water to its lowest level last year since 1995, which was a drier year.”

According to Wild Horizons, another local tourism operator, the large fluctuation of the Zambezi River’s water levels are a part of a normal annual occurrence, with the minimum flow, which occurs in November and a tenth of the maximum flow in April.

“This phenomenon means that viewing the waterfall at different times of the year produces vastly different experiences.

“During high flow, the entire length of the falls is a thundering wall of falling water, whereas in low water the underlying structure can be seen and visibility is far better,” it said.

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