Climatic Changes Erratic Rains and the Necessity of Constructing Water Infrastructure Post 2000 Land Reform in ZimbabweJournal: International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research (Vol.2, No. 8)
Publication Date: 2013-08-25
Authors : Terence Darlington Mushore;
Page : 304-310
Keywords : Keywords Climate; Rainfall; Land reform; Zimbabwe; climate variability; weather; dry spells.;
Abstract The aim of this article is to explore ways of increasing agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe in the face of the increasingly uncertain climatic conditions. Agriculture has remained crucial to economic growth in Zimbabwe while it is mainly rain-fed. The total seasonal rainfall amounts are not indicating any significant trend increasing or decreasing with time. Changes are only noticed in the form of for example prolonged intra-season dry spells increasing rainfall variability increased frequency of storms and hail storms and poor distribution of rainfall in a season. The Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe also carries out cloud seeding to enhance rainfall in all rainfall seasons. This helps more in terms of amount than temporal distribution since only clouds with potential to give rain are seeded. It is argued in this article that in order to effectively support agriculture by reducing the effects of temporal distribution of rainfall on yield irrigation could also be used to augment water supply. Projections are that run-off will be reduced in the southern provinces more than the north by 2080 while most of the countries water bodies are located in Masvingo which is a low rainfall area in the south. There are also dam construction projects such as the Tokwe Mukosi that have remained incomplete for a long time. This article also argues that critical assessment of whether the operational dams are adequately maintained is need. Completion of overdue dam projects construction of others and maintenance of operational reservoirs could create space for the collection of water during wet episodes for use during prolonged dry periods of that rainy season and avoid water stress on agriculture. The article concludes agriculture is adversely impacted by climate change in the form of prolonged intra-season dry spells and offers recommendation that use of irrigation in all areas of the country should avert adverse impacts of water stress on agriculture in Zimbabwe.
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