#ClimateChange: SA's weather extremes for January paint stark picture

2018-02-02 10:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - Capetonians may be in the midst of a drought, but other major cities in South Africa are swiftly facing a similar fate with Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg already implementing water restrictions. 

Thursday, 01 February, is the start of new water restrictions in Cape Town, limiting everyone in the Mother City to 50 litres per person. This is the latest desperate bid to stave off Day Zero which is currently set at 16 April 2018, when the taps will be turned off. 

The water crisis is not limited to Cape Town however, as two towns in the Eastern Cape - Hankey and Patensie - are likely to see 'Day Zero' ahead of the Mother City. While the latest dam levels for Cape Town are 26.3% as at 29 January, Kouga dam in Eastern Cape is merely 9.95% full.

ALSO SEE: SA on water crisis watch

According to the Kouga Municipality, water shedding is already in place for the towns of Hankey and Patensie, as these towns have used up their water quotas for the period ending June 2018.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, residents are now limited to 60 litres each per day as dams are currently at 25.67% of their total combined capacity.

Meanwhile in Johannesburg, Level 1 water restrictions are still in place since from March last year despite the province experiencing rainfall.

This brings into light the frightening reality of the extent of the drought and its effects on various parts of the country and industries.

And yet, while more and more cities in SA experience the plight of the drought, there are some locals who are relying on complete faith that it will rain soon despite the country getting drier in places.

According to Garth Sampson of South African Weather Service (SAWS) in Eastern Cape, “Port Elizabeth experienced the third driest January on record.”

See the comparison here:

“No significant rain is predicted for the next seven days,” adds Sampson, saying that the seasonal forecast which ends in June “shows near normal to below normal rainfall”. This does not bode well for the Nelson Mandela Bay region that is beginning to feel the effects of the drought.

However, Sampson says that "PE was the exception" and although the entire western half of the province is dry, "it is not as low as PE".

ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: Icebergs from Antarctica is a solution, but it's 'too late for this year'

Kate Turner of SAWS based in Cape Town says “We don’t expect much rain for summer in Cape Town, so we can’t bargain on anything.”

In addition, she says that there’s no clear indication of rainfall expected for the winter season.

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