Climate change in South Africa
Are droughts getting worse?
Droughts like the devastating drought in 2018 when “Day Zero”, the day when Cape Town was predicted to run dry became a looming possibility, have occurred in the past – in the late 1920s, early 1970s and 2003 and 2004. But the burning question is: are they getting worse? Until now the reliable yield of the South Western Cape water system was based on the assumption of a stationary climate – where past rainfall could be used as a reliable indication of future rainfall.
Drought is becoming an on-going reality
South Africa’s grain farmers are currently battling with dry conditions in the main part of South Africa’s maize belt, where crop plantings have been delayed beyond the optimum planting weather due to the drought. For many farmers in the western part of South Africa, this is the fifth or the sixth year where they are battling with drought and experiencing less than normal crop yields.
The reality of climate change
A report on climate change has also said that people living in the Western Cape face the threat of long-term drought as a result of climate change that will also affect 650 million people in more than 500 cities around the world. C40 data has revealed that climate change will also result in at least 215 million people living in poverty in 490 cities as a result of extreme heat – with the steepest rises being experienced in Africa and Asia. GreenCape’s Water Sector Market Intelligence Report has confirmed that the Western Cape is particularly vulnerable to drought and climate change and has said that the Western Cape will become hotter and dryer leading to “reduced water availability”.