‘Monasavu Dam records below average rainfall’

Monasavu Dam. Picture: EFL/FILE

MonasavuDam has continually received below average rainfall during the 2022-2023 wet season from November, 2022, to April, 2023.

The average figures calculated by the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) are from a 30-year period – from 1981 to 2010.

On average by month, Monasavu receives about 454.2 millimetres of rainfall in November, 565.1mm in December, 657.2mm in January, 518.8mm in February, 598.2mm in March and 500.8mm in April.

However, the figures recorded during November, 2022, to April, 2023, showed the actual rainfall recorded at the dam.

For November, the site received 187.2mm of rainfall, 470.9mm in December, 322.1mm in January, 480.2mm in February, 476.6mm in March and 167.9 mm in April.

“When making comparison with average rainfall (rainfall that we would expect to receive) and actual rainfall from November 2022 to April 2023, it is evidentiary that we have not received the usual rainfall at Monasavu,” FMS said.

Rotuma too faced the brunt of dry conditions, after receiving less than its above average rainfall from May, 2022, to April, 2023.

FMS also confirmed that Taveuni experienced seriously dry conditions from November, 2022 to April, 2023.

With the data received thus far, April was the worst month as below average rainfall was recorded across all divisions.

“Seriously dry conditions or meteorological drought means that rainfall at that location is at or within the lowest 10 per cent of the historical record,” FMS stated.

And as the country entered dry season from May, 2023, to October this year, FMS stated the country can expect drier conditions in the coming months.

“The reason for the expected drier conditions is because climate indictors in the tropical Pacific Ocean are now indicating early stages of development of an El Nino event.

“Fiji usually experiences drier than usual conditions during an El Niño event, but the influence of the past La Niña event may continue to have an impact on Fiji’s climate for a few more months due to the lag in the atmosphere to oceanic changes.”

Meanwhile, FMS also clarified that any future possibility of a drought being declared in the country will be done by the National Drought Steering Committee, chaired by the permanent secretary for Ministry of Rural, Maritime and National Disaster Management.

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