#Atta clarifies on ‘Victoria Falls drying up’ panic statements

Atta Media Release: Victoria Falls
December 2019

There has recently been a number of media and news organisations around the world reporting about Victoria Falls potentially drying up. Atta has spoken to various members based in Zimbabwe seeking clarification around these reports.

Whilst we are cognisant that Climate Change is a growing concern on a global level, and that it is potentially having an impact on countries throughout the world, what has been lacking in the media reports is an insight into the historic seasonal patterns and the resultant changes in water flow which are vital pieces of information to ensure a clear perspective is maintained.

The seasonal rise and fall of the Zambezi River changes the look of Victoria Falls on a daily basis. The western side of the falls is lower than the eastern side and therefore carries the most water all year round. This fluctuation is less noticeable at Devil’s cataract and the Main Falls. From Livingstone Islands onwards, this ebb and flow becomes more apparent and at low water, this portion of the Falls dries up almost completely.

Victoria Falls Pathways and Viewing Points
Historical data provided by the Zambezi River Authority, who monitors the water level flows in the region daily, provide evidence that the annual mean water levels of the river have in fact been lower in at least six prior examples of a period spanning 1914 to the current date period.

Whilst Zimbabwe has indeed experienced an extensive drought over the course of this year, the water levels of the Zambezi and indeed the flow levels over Victoria Falls, have remained above those recorded over the drought period of 95 / 96.

Victoria Falls, 1st December, 2019
Although the Falls are a spectacular experience at high water, the spray often obscures the waterfall making it difficult to see and photograph. Each time of the year, throughout the change of seasons and the change in water levels, has its advantages and disadvantages but one thing is consistent: Victoria Falls remains a magnificent sight and natural phenomenon all year round.

For those who have been alarmed by the recent reports and somewhat sensationalised headlines, the good news is that the current records from the Zambezi River Authority are showing that water levels are once again on a consistent rise. Already water has started to flow once again over certain points along the eastern cataract of Victoria Falls (the dry portion or cliff-face of Victoria Falls which has been pictured in all recent media reports).

Victoria Falls, 1st December 2019

We anticipate that given the recent reports of rain in the Zambezi catchment area, and indeed the rainfall being experienced in the immediate region, that these water levels will continue to rise as would be anticipated and consistent with the norm for this time of year and the change in season from mid / end of November, beginning of December.

We hope this clarifies some of the queries and concerns being raised around the water levels of the Falls.

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