Thursday, January 26, 2006

Water, water, everywhere...

Hmmm. Since yesterday, someone has told me that Windhoek had more than six days of rain last year. Well, I have some facts. Last year, in January, which is supposedly the rainy season, Windhoek received a scant, but fairly standard 67.8 mm of rain. The average annual rainfall in Windhoek is 360mm. A week ago, the rainfall for January had reached almost 300mm. Yesterday, so much rain fell on the city that the sluice gates of the Avis Dam opened up automatically – an extraordinarily unusual event – and released a wild, angry river complete with jumping fish and whole trees into the dry river bed that runs through the west of the city.

It was phenomenal to watch. I went up there last night, along with many people for whom the sight of a river is about as common as a white Christmas. There was almost a carnival atmosphere; the place was full of kids and dogs. I’m surprised there wasn’t a hot dog stand.

My boyfriend (not sure how to refer to him really – Lover? Paramour? Love interest? Personal Slave? Hmmm… Will have to give this some consideration) experienced a flash flood out at his farm yesterday. I saw the pictures. That’s a lot of water. He discovered scary, carnivorous, duck-devouring tortoises in a small pond out the back of the house the other day, but now the tortoises have been released into the wild, and from here on in we will be hearing tales of mysterious disappearing water fowl across the region. It’s like something out of a horror-disaster movie. For ducks.

There doesn’t seem to be any kind of scheme to manage all this water. I know that it’s an unusual occurrence, but surely, in a country so short on water, this abundance should prompt a flurry of conservation. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. The water that is released is simply lost, and by the time the rain stops – and when it does, we won’t see any more until the end of the year - we will all be sitting here again, worrying about the dropping water levels in the dams that supply the city’s drinking water.

Mind you, judging from a recent headline in the Namibian, it’s not the dropping water levels in the dams that we should be worrying about. It’s the rising floaters.
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