Drought 101: A continuing threat

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Although water restrictions in Gauteng and other provinces have been lifted due to full dams after heavy rainfall, the Western Cape and surrounding areas are still in the midst of a harsh drought.

South Africa is not yet drought-free.

• Read: Floods 101: An underestimated disaster

What is a drought and how is it caused?

A drought occurs when rain is absent or minimal for a long period of time, leading to a shortage of water and dry land, hence a drought.

What are the dangers/effects of a drought?

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says severe drought conditions can negatively affect air quality. During drought, there is an increased risk for wildfires and dust storms.

Other possible effects, according to this site, include:

• quantity and quality of drinking water,

• air quality,

• diminished living conditions related to energy, sanitation and hygiene,

• compromised food and nutrition and

• increased incidence of illness and disease.

What to do during a drought?

The first obvious thing to do would be to use water as sparingly as possible.

It is a sad thing to see a beautiful garden wither and die, but it is an even sadder thing to see living beings suffer.

Do not waste precious, clean water by watering your garden, instead, when you shower, place a bucket underneath you and use the ‘waste’ water in your garden.

Read here for more tips on how to save water.

According to Disaster Survival Resources, if there is a spell of rainfall, collect the rainwater in barrels for future use.

It is one of the best ways to capture water for utilisation when water is scarce.

• Also read: Tornadoes 101: When the unexpected happens

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Izahn Krige
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