Government starts cloud seeding to augment rainfall

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By Xinhua

HARARE: Zimbabwe has started cloud seeding in an effort to increase rainfall in the current summer season, an official said Friday.

The country recently acquired the latest technology to aid in cloud seeding, and a test run was conducted on Wednesday in Mt-Hampden in the outskirts of the capital Harare, resulting in some rains falling, Prosper Matondi, national coordinator for Climate Change Department in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, told Xinhua.

He said the government has availed significant resources for cloud seeding in the current rain season, which usually runs from November to April.

This year, his department is geared to carrying out timely cloud seeding to minimize the effects of mid-season dry spells that normally occur during the month of January, Matondi said.

“Traditionally, we always do cloud seeding to complement the natural rainfall each season, and we usually start just into the season to cloud seed based on the different conditions that obtain on a day-to-day basis.

“Based on our experiences from previous seasons, we decided that we should do much more in terms of cloud seeding so that we can offset some of the mid-season dry spells that occur from time to time. So we decided that this year we should start now to do our cloud seeding,” Matondi said.

He said the government has been supportive of the programme and released resources at the beginning of the year for cloud seeding.

“It may not be enough… but in the long-term, we have been reassured by the government of more resources,” Matondi said.

He said Zimbabwe has acquired five new radars with the latest technology that were deployed across the country, complemented by more than 50 automated weather stations to provide accurate and timely weather and climate information.

Zimbabwe has over the years experienced floods and droughts with a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods.

The country now faces severe power shortages, which have been worsened by low water levels at its major hydropower plant at Kariba Power Station.