Most parts of the Eastern Cape have experienced 2 years of below average annual rainfall, but the South African Weather Service has confirmed that the Uitenhage region has been the worst off with 5 years of below average rainfall.
Rainfall over the Eastern Cape for 2017 was generally dry. This is in line with what international climate scientists have been projecting that global rainfall patterns will shift. And these seasonal shifts affect water resources across the planet.
“The seasonal forecast does not look promising with only near normal rain forecast for most of the Eastern Cape,” said Garth Sampson, Client Liaison Officer (Eastern Cape) at the South African Weather Service.
“Considering the above and that the dam levels are fast approaching the 25% mark, it is vital that we all conserve water.”
According to the weather service, the prolonged period of below average rainfall in areas of the Eastern Cape can be divided as follows:
•East London, Grahamstown, Port Alfred, Port Elizabeth, Patensie and Joubertina have had 2 years of below average annual rainfall (2016-2017).
•Graaf Reinett and Cradock have experienced below average rainfall for 3 years (2015-2017).
•Mthatha and Somerset East have had 4 years of below average rainfall (2014-2017).
•Uitenhage, is the worst off with 5 years’ below average rainfall (2013-2017).
Here are some comparisons of average annual rainfall totals (first figure) and the 2017 actual rainfall (second figure) of towns in the Eastern Cape:
Queenstown (442 mm - 550 mm), Mthatha (675 mm - 587 mm), Graaf Reinett (304 mm - 216 mm), Cradock (376 mm - 347 mm), Joubertina (394 mm - 207 mm), Patensie (459 mm - 340 mm), Uitenhage (423 mm - 315 mm), Port Elizabeth (616 mm - 494 mm), Port Alfred (585 mm - 485 mm), Grahamstown (523 mm - 504 mm), East London (834 mm - 807 mm).