Causes Of Drought In South Africa 2023 (Types, Effects & Solutions)

Drought is nothing close to being nice and pleasant. It is synonymous with dryness and toughness, with nasty repercussions too. Drought, of course, can be experienced just anywhere, and South Africa is no exception.

As touching causes of drought in South Africa, the two chief culprits are usually climate change unruly human endeavors.

Causes Of Drought In South Africa

A. Climate Change

Climate change in South Africa has been coming with different unpalatable effects, like droughts and the rest. According to reports, this will likely increase in South Africa, since climate change keeps biting too. Hence, it is advisable to invest in better irrigation systems or more enhanced reservoirs to handle water scarcity.

B. Human actions

Many of the issues we currently face on planet earth came as a result of our unruly actions as humans, and our influence on issues like drought is not an exception (in fact, it has been regarded as an increasingly important factor).

We should recall that in different parts of this world, more and more water is being used for irrigation. The result of this is that great pressure is being placed on the limited water available. When drought eventually comes, existing shortages become worse.

Types Of Drought In South Africa

There are different types of droughts evident in different parts of the world, but in South Africa, three different kinds of droughts have been distinguished by specialists. They include agricultural drought, meteorological drought, as well as hydrological drought.

Agricultural Drought

This is when failure of adequate rainfall leads to a decline in soil moisture. The immediate consequence is that pastures and crops that needs great deal of rain, are affected. Experts have explained that a great way to identify this sort of drought is to explore rainfall records as well as vegetation conditions on maps.

Meteorological Drought

This is when rainfall is less than average over a reasonable period of time. When this is occurring, farmers and water managers are usually alerted to be set to act if it should go on.

Hydrological Drought

This is when a meteorological drought vehemently decreases the availability of water resources in lakes and rivers. There are only a few places in South Africa yet to experience this sort of drought. When this comes, it is expedient that water managers who have the responsibility of supplying water to cities and towns should implement ready-made plans to restrict water use if storage levels decrease.

Effects Of Drought In South Africa

There are different effects that accompany drought. We will explore them under three major umbrellas: Social Impacts, Environmental Impacts, and Economic Impacts.

 Social Impacts

Droughts can disrupt the distribution of water resources, increase the quest for water as well as food insecurity. It can lead to the unsustainability of marginal lands in South Africa, and also reduce grazing quality and crop yields.

Droughts can trigger employment layoffs, can increase pollutant concentrations, and can bring about inequitable drought relief too. It can also cause forest and range fires as well as trigger an increase in urbanization.

Additionally, it can cause poverty, unemployment, reductions in income, overstocking, and a reduction in the quality of living of the people. Drought can bring about increased conflicts between water users in a region, and even force them into migration and resettlement.

It can also promote malnutrition, famine, social unrest, distrust, civil strife, and conflict, as well as an increased threat to human and animal life.

Environmental Effects

Droughts can cause great damages to natural habitat, as well as ensure a reduction in forest, crop, and rangeland productivity. Additionally, it can trigger a reduction in water levels, water quality, as well as cloud cover.

Droughts can also bring about an increase in daytime temperature, evapotranspiration, and even lead to the breakout of more dust and sandstorms. It also leads to a decrease in soil productivity, water resources, and food shortages.

Droughts can cause loss of biodiversity, lower accessibility to water, and make people suffer due to lack of water for feeding and drinking. It also promotes more waterborne diseases, as well as plant scorching.

Economic Impacts

Droughts can promote loss of crops for food and income, and even force folks to take financial loans. It can also badly affect businesses, with loss of jobs and income, and property. With these, as well as other effects like food and water shortages, there won’t be a lot for tourism and recreation.

Droughts will cause an increase in the price of farming commodities, transportation costs, capital shortfall, debts, and credit risk for financial institutions. It promotes poverty, unemployment, and a drastic price increase in important products. A harsh environment of that sort that pushes upwards the rate of crime and insecurity. These things are indeed very important and should be taken very seriously.

The effects of things like droughts are never palatable, and we must all do all we can do to always ensure the enhancing of water security in the country. It goes a really long way in ensuring tranquility in society.

Examples Of Drought In South Africa

Since 2015, the country has been attacked by droughts and water shortages, forcing an absence of running water in some communities for a long time. It was made known that delayed rainfalls and decreasing dam levels plunged the country into the issue – the worst in South Africa since 1982.

A major step that came up was that Kwazulu-Natal and Free State were established as disaster areas. In fact, there are certain other provinces that have been going through water shortages since then. For instance, Western Cape have seen vehement water shortages.

Generally, South Africa is one of the driest countries in the world and is regarded as a water-scarce country. It is then bad when drought comes (which prompts authorities to admonish the people to use their water wisely).

Farmers in South Africa are usually burdened by the effects of drought. Of course, this is not just about their own livelihood being threatened, but we must also consider that many citizens could eventually starve.

Possible Solution Of Drought In South Africa

Authorities are already taking steps to mitigate drought in South Africa. While some of the measures are immediate, some others are classified as long-term measures.

A. Immediate Solutions

First, there is the need to be very active as far as the implementation of drought operating rules are concerned. This must go beyond the sphere of simply making rules and regulations on the paper – implementation is very pivotal.

Secondly, it is helpful to undertake borehole drilling (as well as rehabilitation). Additionally, water tankering from appropriate sources can be helpful too.

Also, being strategic in the utilization of rainwater and fog harvesting can be vehemently helpful. Giving priority to the protection and usage of springs is another measure we should give attention to.

Still, on immediate measures that can be taken, we can give attention to cloud seeding too. These steps can go a very long way here.

B. Long-term Measures

There are continuous and progressive activities that can be taken by appropriate authorities to promote water security against drought.

We can take steps towards water storage and transfer developments (one of the things that should be at the very top of the activities). Government can also seriously embark on the construction of water infrastructure like dams, to help redistribute water over time and space.

It is helpful to also review and promulgate restrictions that are within the law with a view of restoring and protecting ecological infrastructure. Additionally, there is the need to develop and integrate other sources to enhance water security (talk about groundwater and the rest).

Finally, certain stakeholders believe in the need to develop and implement adequate water conservation strategies. This includes reducing domestic consumption to certain litres per person. As stated already, it is not enough to develop strategies, but what truly matters is to implement them appropriately.

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Drought is nothing pleasant at all, and it should be avoided as much as possible. It is necessary to be aware of the things we can do as swift as possible to enhance water security in South Africa, so as can prevent nasty events of lack of water.

Going forward, it is very important that folks should start changing the manner they think about droughts. It is necessary to realize that humans have a lot to play in the occurrences of drought, and it is our actions that changed the way the water cycle works.

According to some experts, while natural climate variability is a big contributor to issues of drought, we should not undermine how integral human influence is. Therefore, while the natural climate operations might be things we can’t help to control now, we can prevent human-induced drought.

Finally, it is necessary for citizens to cooperate with the efforts of the government when due and necessary, as it is possible for the country to soar above the stings of drought in South Africa.

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