The Knysna/Plett Harold published an article early this morning that climate change is taking its toll in the Western Cape.
It is believed that more municipalities will expect to request emergency water assistance due to high water consumption because of the recent fires.
The Agricultural Economist, Wandile Sihlobo, said changing weather patterns, including shifting rain periods, were putting pressure on the grain-producing areas of the western parts of the country.
“We have seen in South Africa of late a rapid pace of El Nino conditions. Whereas before we would have droughts spaced out between four or five years, we are now seeing these occurrences almost every two years.
“In 2016, we had a drought and 2017/18 there was a break, but we saw dry conditions returning towards the end of 2018, and now in 2019 in parts of the Western Cape and the Northern Cape.”
Sihlobo suggested farmers should consider irrigation and look at shifting planting seasons, as later than expected rainfall could become par for the course in years to come.
Former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said policy-makers needed to lead a shift in the way water is distributed, stored and governed now that the Western Cape is becoming increasingly arid.
“Many of the water challenges and shortages at municipalities and also in the agricultural sector can be attributed to climate change. Rainfall patterns have changed and the new normal in the Western Cape is that it’s a drought-stricken area.
“So the challenge for the future is that we all have to change our relationship with water and not rest on our laurels when water is plentiful.”
Meanwhile, firefighting continues as wildfires break out due to extreme weather conditions.