29 November 2017

South Africa: Cape Drought Is At a Watershed Moment

analysis

There are long-term consequences of some of our short-term fixes for the current water crisis in the Western Cape. By CHRISTINE COLVIN.

The Cape drought crisis is about to get into full swing. With unseasonal, lucky rains over the last few weeks our Big Six dams have been treading water at about 37%. We are now at the precipice of a terrifying descent to Day Zero, as future hope of rain looks bleak and temperatures are set to soar.

Slow-onset disasters, like drought, have the nightmarish quality of creeping up on you in plain sight. And just like a nightmare, they can leave you too quickly, burned out by the light of day. The rest of the country has almost forgotten that they were also in the grips of the drought disaster at the beginning of the year (eight out of nine provinces). A recent World Bank Report on the impact of climate change Uncharted Waters , describes droughts (or dry shocks) as the most devastating climate disasters: slow and silent, with the impacts on vulnerable poor communities persisting into the next generation. However, some of the solutions to our current crisis are also hidden in plain sight.

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