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Worst drought in over 100 years hits Western Cape in South Africa

According to Zille’s spokesperson, Michael Mpofu, The disaster declaration is in response to what the premier is calling the “worst drought since 1904.” Mpofu went on to say the declaration will remain in effect for three months and can be extended if necessary.

“The disaster declaration will accelerate the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre’s Project ‘Avoiding Day Zero’, the province’s strategy to ensure that taps do not run dry,” Premier Zille said in a statement, adding that the declaration is no cause for panic.

Mpofu‚ said project “Avoiding Day Zero” was going to focus on demand management‚ winter water conservation and groundwater management, adding, “Funding will be re-prioritised provincially and‚ should further assistance be needed‚ the province will approach National Treasury and the National Department of Water and Sanitation.”

South Africa has remained in the grip of a devastating drought that scientists say is not expected to end anytime soon, especially with the El Nino weather pattern that faded in May 2016 expected to return in September this year.

Last week, delegates from various scientific institutions met in Cape Town to discuss the rainfall patterns. The Meeting included delegates from the Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science, the South African Weather Service and the University of Cape Town.

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Not only was it revealed that rainfall amounts for February to April this year were less than the rainfall amounts for the same period last year, but the experts warned that the rainfall deficit was so severe now that any rain the area receives will be immediately sucked up by the dehydrated soil.

CSIR’s Doctor Neville Sweijd said the research community was working hard to improve weather forecasting, adding, “Even if we get average rainfall in July, the total season might be below.”

Bore holes being drilled to get enough water in critical areas
The Western Cape’s port city of Cape Town does not have enough water tankers to supply residents. Residents have been asked to restrict water use to 100 liters (106 quarts) a person per day in order to conserve water.

Additionally, boreholes will be drilled at hospitals and schools in high-risk areas. There are also plans to drill into the Table Mountain aquifer, according to Reuters.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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