Water limitations likely to continue

2016-03-17 06:00

ALTHOUGH the El Niño that started the drought in South Africa is showing signs of slowing down, the looming winter season will leave the country dry.

Dr Dennis Dlamini, a hydrologist at the Department of Water and Sanitation, says water limitations may still be on the cards as South Africa enters the winter season with no rain.

“South Africa continued to receive less than average rain falls in the past two months, so the dam levels are still lower than expected. The current average dam level stood at 54%, a far cry from normal levels during normal rainy seasons,” said Dlamini at a departmental workshop on the drought.

Ideally, he said, dams should be full this time of the year after heavy downpours in the months of January and February.

“The intensification and spatial expansion of climatological drought may be waning but the effects thereof will take time to rescind. The drought lasts for periods of between six to nine months, but in some cases it can last up to two years.”

Dlamini predicted that the country would have a higher than normal rainfall in the next few weeks that should come to an end in the second week of April. However, he pointed out that the rains would have little impact, if any, as the country will go into autumn and winter, which are dry periods.

“The El Niñowas expected to be followed by the La Niña phenomenon when the country relapses into summer later in the year. The phenomenon brings about heavy downpours that are accompanied by floods,” he said.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has spent R78 million on drought relief and R38 million was spent on water tankering and fixing reservoirs throughout the country.

- SAnews.gov.za

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