Over the last two decades, the Zambezi River Basin has experienced extreme floods and droughts (SARDC and HBS 2010). Most of the flooding in the basin is associated with active cyclones that develop in the Indian Ocean. The IPCC predicted that tropical cyclones will become more intense, with higher peak wind speeds and heavier precipitation associated with increases in tropical sea surface temperature (IPCC 2009). Major floods were recorded in parts of the Zambezi basin during the rainfall seasons of 1999-2000, 2005-06 and 2007 (SARDC and HBS 2010). While flooding in some areas, such as the Barotse plains, is a regular event providing vital water for irrigation and replenishing soil fertility, the frequency, timing, intensity and duration of floods are changing in the basin (SARDC and HBS 2010). The extent of flooding has intensfied due to poorly maintained embankments and structural measures, while in urban areas poor land use planning and inadequate drainage worsen flooding. In addition to destruction of homes and infrastructure, and loss of crops and livestock, flooding also inundates land, decreases soil fertility and destroys fodder resources, limiting agricultural production.
From collection: Zambezi River Basin - Atlas of the changing Environment