Desert slowly encroaches into Gaborone

Dry spells will continue into 2015 with less rainfall expected in the Gaborone dam catchment area- the Department of Metrological Services has warned.

Presenting during the Seasonal Rainfall outlook for 2014/2015 at the Gaborone International Convention Centre this week, Senior Meteorologist Esther Jansen, said they expect a short rainfall season, mostly in the Kgalagadi and Southern part of the country. Jansen said their forecast indicates that rainfall pattern will continue to decrease in the Borolong Farms and Ramatlabama area especially from January, February and March 2014.

“These are the catchment areas of Gaborone Da, hence water levels will continue to be affected.” The Greater Gaborone region comprises Gaborone, Molepolole, Lobatse, Ramotswa, Mogodisthane, as well as Tlokweng and Mochudi. Gaborone Dam is almost empty. Metrological forecasts indicate that rainfall in the Southern region has greatly decreased and is currently moving toward negative recordings. “The desert is moving slowly towards Gaborone, with drastically declining rainfall patterns,” said Jaansen. However Director at the Department Thabang Botshoma said not all areas are drying up.

He pointed out that as the Southern area is drying up the Gantsi Belt and parts of Kgalagadi up to Kang are slowly getting increased wetness. The pattern of increased rainfall in Gantsi has even made the Belt to be classified in the Region 1 areas, which include the Ngamiland, Chobe, and Northern parts of the Central Districts.“Together with international research institutions we are running studies to find out the drastic change happening in Gantsi and the Southern part of the country.” Botshoma said they expect increased heat, which will shorten the rainfall season three and a half months, which is a shift from the normal six months. “Due to high temperatures the rainfall season will begin very late and end early,” he said adding that they expect the rainy season to begin mid November 2014 and end in March 2015. Normal to above normal rains are expected over the north and west of Botswana, whereas the east will experience above normal to normal rains during the October, November and December months.

The rains will continue into January, but the Southwestern parts will experience reduction in rainfall in January. “The rest of the country will experience deficit rains in March 2015.” Botshoma said Gaborone and farmers in the area will be greatly affected and they might just have to consider irrigation farming.He advised that due to the expected hot spells and shortened rainfall season most areas of the country are in danger of flooding due to heavy rains.”But the southeastern and Bobirwa area will sorely experience drought.”  

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