37 000


CityPress - - News - – Poloko Tau

De­spite re­cent rains rais­ing hopes that the dry spell is over, the South African Weather Ser­vice has warned that the coun­try is not off the hook just


“Peo­ple should not think that be­cause we re­ceived 10mm or 20mm of rain­fall that they can start wast­ing wa­ter. The prob­lem is dire at the mo­ment,” said the agency spokesper­son Han­nelee Doubell.

She said El Nino was “fiz­zling out” and chances of it re­turn­ing were very slim. South Africa is cur­rently re­cov­er­ing from the El Nino ef­fect which brought a drought that rav­aged most parts of the coun­try, leav­ing farm­ers count­ing mil­lions in losses.

While there were prospects of bet­ter rain, the drought was still with us. It will take be­tween three to four years for dams to re­fill to re­spectable lev­els.

“There is def­i­nitely hope but re­cov­ery will be very slow. Un­less we have a sud­den 300mm of rain­fall in South Africa,” she quipped.

Mean­while, the weather ser­vice has in­di­cated in its Novem­ber 2016 to March 2017 sea­sonal cli­mate watch that there was a pos­si­bil­ity of well above-nor­mal rain­fall con­di­tions which, given the cur­rent drought ef­fects, may cause flood­ing which will have a neg­a­tive im­pact on other eco­nomic sec­tors such as agri­cul­ture.

“The fore­cast­ing sys­tem shows en­hanced chances for above-nor­mal rain­fall con­di­tions for the com­ing sea­sons. The like­li­hood for ex­treme wet con­di­tions is also highly favoured at least for the be­gin­ning of the sum­mer sea­son.”

Doubell also said wa­ter lev­els at dams and other wa­ter sources have been drop­ping at an alarm­ing rate de­spite the late rains.

The cur­rent drought is the worst that South Africa has ex­pe­ri­enced in decades, and it has al­ready had a se­vere im­pact on jobs in agri­cul­ture and food man­u­fac­tur­ing. Ear­lier this year, Stats SA re­ported that the drought last sum­mer saw jobs in agri­cul­ture de­cline by 37 000. At the same time, food prices are ris­ing be­cause of poor rain­fall.

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