For its stunning view, the Victoria Falls have drawn millions of tourists to Zimbabwe and Zambia.
But the worst drought of the century has alerted us that climate change will probably kill all of the region’s biggest tourist attractions.
According to The Guardian, while the Victoria falls typically slow down during the dry season, this year had brought a huge decline in water levels.
Dominic Nyambe, a seller of tourist handicrafts, said,
In previous years, when it gets dry, it’s not to this extent. This is our first experience of seeing it like this. It affects us because clients can see on the internet that the falls are low. We don’t have so many tourists.
As Zimbabwe and Zambia are heavily dependent on hydropower from the Kariba dam, which is on the Zambezi river upstream of the waterfalls, the problem of power cuts is getting common.
While the water flow is low in some areas, others are nothing but a pile of dry stones. Data from the Zambezi River Authority shows that since 1995, the water flow is at its lowest.
However, people have different thoughts on this.
Harald Kling, a hydrologist at engineering firm Poyry and a Zambezi river expert, said that it’s difficult to say if this is happening due to climate change because droughts have always occurred.
However, if they become more frequent, then we can call it climate change. He said that the last drought was only three years ago and as the river got hotter, 437m cubic metres of water was evaporating every second.
Head of the International Crane Foundation, Richard Beilfuss has studied the Zambezi for the past three decades and believes that climate change was delaying the monsoon.