Drought hits parts of Western Cape, KZN

2015-10-21 16:17


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Durban – The ongoing drought in South Africa is reaching critical levels with general water supply and agriculture severely affected.

Parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape have especially experienced difficulty, with water curtailment being implemented.

Speaking to News24 on Wednesday, Umgeni Water stakeholder manager, Shami Harichunder, said the bulk water supplier has been running three emergency schemes.

"Basically, what this does is take water supply from one point and supply it to a water treatment works that does not have sufficient water," Harichunger said.

Harichunder added that supply was reaching a critical point that would soon see KwaZulu-Natal metropolitans negatively affected.

"As it stands, the Midmar Dam is at 54.21% which is worryingly low. This supply services Durban, Pietermaritzburg and parts of Gingingdlovu."

Harichunder added that increased heat and the upcoming festive period would not assist the situation.

Agri Wescape spokesperson Jeanne Boshoff said the agricultural sector was especially experiencing difficulty in the Western Cape.

Lack of rain in Western Cape hits farmers hard

"The lack of rain in the province this past season has hit the agricultural sector hard and emerging and commercial producers were equally affected. If the water levels of dams don’t rise soon, residents in urban areas will also be feeling the impact of the drought through water restrictions.

"Agri Western Cape calls on all role players in the value chain that support primary agriculture to get together to reflect on how the next 18 to 24 months should be managed. All tiers of government must take note that the drought will have a domino effect on rural towns, its residents and businesses."

Boshoff added that wheat producers in the Sandveld region were experiencing one of the worst droughts since 1957 with some producers estimating that their losses on dry land may amount to R3 million per 800 ha.

"The Swartland experienced one of the driest seasons in 75 years with less than half of the region’s average rainfall measured so far. Two months ago producers were looking forward to a record harvest, but the wheat has since suffered extensive damage due to the lack of rain."

Read more on:    agri sa  |  durban  |  cape town  |  weather  |  farming  |  drought

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