2017 is just a dry run for a desiccated future‚ disaster chief warns Cape - Times LIVE
Tue May 23 06:53:30 SAST 2017

2017 is just a dry run for a desiccated future‚ disaster chief warns Cape

Aphiwe Deklerk | 2017-05-17 15:58:14.0

Drought-hit Western Cape residents can expect 30% less average rainfall by the middle of the century.

The desiccation of the province will be accelerated by higher temperatures‚ said Colin Deiner‚ chief director of the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre.

Speaking to TimesLive a day after he briefed a water indaba attended by Premier Helen Zille and water minister Nomvula Mokonyane‚ Deiner said the next two years posed an urgent problem.

“It’s gradually happening; we have seen it this year‚ with a lot less rain. The guys that are experts are the people that are making these predictions‚” he said.

Between now and 2050 the province needed to invest in infrastructure to ensure it lost less water “in the system”.

“We have taken the fact that we have had fairly good [rainfall] for granted for many years‚” said Deiner.

The Western Cape needed to learn from drier countries how they were coping when it comes to water and farming.

“The work that we do now must be focused on how to achieve what we achieve now with less water‚” he said.

Dr Peter Johnston‚ a climate scientist at University of Cape Town‚ estimated 20% less rainfall by 2050.

“We expect the temperatures to increase by between 1.8 and 2 degrees celsius‚ and all the models [of prediction] that we have agree on that ... provided that the current situation of greenhouse gas stays the same‚” he said.

“If their production starts to decrease‚ then it might be slightly less — but not much.”

Johnston said there was a consensus about the decrease in rainfall and the fact that most of it would come late in winter.

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