Water Research Commission celebrated their world water Day event yesterday at Potchefstroom, University of Western Cape Campus. The minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa was there to commemorate this year’s World Water Day with the launch of the North West University (NWU) Lekwena Weather Radar. The NWU Lekwena Weather Radar is a result of the 3-year study commissioned by the Water Research Commission to develop a rainfall estimation algorithm, using rainfall data from the new dual polarized Doppler radar and validate it against a dense rain gauge network.
Located 10 kilometers north-east of Potchefstroom, the radar purchased from the United States by the NWU was assembled and installed in the Lekwena farm due to the inaccessibility of the new weather radar network. The main aim of this initiative was to develop infrastructure and build capacity to improve rainfall estimation and provide real-time radar, precipitation and weather data from multiple platforms that will be accessible freely to the scientific community.
Because the monitoring and forecasting of the climate and weather monitoring has huge implications for a number of sectors including agriculture and water resources – the results from the NWU Lekwena Radar are expected to have real world socio-economic impact on issues such as flash flooding, drought and other weather-related events.
The success of the NWU Lekwena Weather Radar will result in the development of a technology to calibration the entire radar network and to develop capacity on rainfall estimation in South Africa.