Plan for low rainfall and hot weather: Weather SA

11 November 2019 - 06:11 By Dan Meyer
The Gamka Dam in the Karoo in November 2017.
The Gamka Dam in the Karoo in November 2017.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

The SA Weather Service (SAWS) has warned that the country's drought concerns are far from over, as the country heads into a hot summer with below average rainfall.

Many parts of the country, including Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the North West, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape, have been in the grip of crippling drought conditions for the better part of the last two years, and the medium-term prognosis is not positive for agriculture in the areas.

SAWS suggested that early forecasts indicated the probability of below average rainfall for the western to central parts of the country, with “higher than normal” temperatures to be expected.

“In light of the above assessment, it is clear that southern African farmers, water managers and government entities need to prepare for impacts associated with the likelihood of below-normal rainfall and above-normal temperatures during the summer of 2019/20,” SAWS said in a statement earlier this month.

“Furthermore, there is low soil moisture currently available to support crop planting and growth. If these conditions persist, they are likely to impact on available soil moisture, water availability for irrigation, and increased heat stress on livestock.

“Overall, the growing conditions for summer crops and pasture production will generally be constrained if the predicted rainfall and temperatures prevail.”

SAWS called for residents to continue to use water sparingly.

“The predicted climatic conditions echo government’s calls that water users and communities should apply water-saving and conservation strategies to sustain the limited water resources,” they said.