Impact of Droughts in South Africa: Essay

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Drought is a period of unusually low rainfall, that leads to a shortage of water and causes deuteriation to that area. South Africa is considered a water-scarce country and is ranked as the 30th driest country in the world. This has a major impact on the environment, society, and economy. Approximately 37% of South Africa’s rural community is affected by drought. Drought is common in Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and Eastern Free State. Drought is one of the most frequent and devastating events that occur in South Africa.

Drought is considered a 'hazard' because it has a negative effect on human beings, the environment, and the economy. These effects could start as short-term effects and escalate to long-term effects depending on the severity of the drought. During a drought, stock farmers slaughter their livestock to avoid high costs for the animals' feed. The meat prices tend to drop as they want to get rid of the meat, but the price will increase in the long term because the meat will become scares. Moreover, fewer people will visit the region that is experiencing a drought. For example, Cape Town is known for its wine, so when Cape Town experiences a drought, it would have an impact on the price and fewer people will be willing to pay for that wine, so the country will lose income on tourism. If farmers aren’t able to provide for the population of that area (due to crops dying), then they would have to impart food, which increases the selling price increase and farmers would lose their income. If there is no fresh water, the population can die from malnutrition, starvation, heat stress, and thirst. People tend to move to regions that have more clean, safe water. People that live in rural areas move to urban areas. Production of crops and smaller harvests are reduced because topsoil moisture gets depleted as their roots cannot reach deep enough to access other water souses, it takes years for the plants to recover from droughts. If we use the water faster than we can pump or receive water, it can lead to huge economic problems. Drought can impact your sanitation and hygiene because the region could be under strict water regulations and won’t be able to use as much water as they would like. If the drought gets really bad, children drop and parents struggle to make a living. All living things depend on water, so if there is a drought in a specific area, all the plants, animals, and humans in that region are affected.

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The Western Cape had a water shortage in 2017 and 2018, and since then the tourism sector decreased by 15%. The drought impacted the lower agricultural population because the food prices increased on items such as maize and staple food items. The drought in the Western Cape province also lead to over 20 000 jobs that were lost in the agriculture workforce, which increased poverty and protest.

Agriculture plays a crucial role in food security and feeding millions of people every day. The agriculture sector relies on rain to grow crops and provide livestock so that they can make an income and living. South Africa needs to abdicate research on how to deal with and work with drought because drought negatively affects agriculture and South Africa benefits from our agriculture sector. Mitigation refers to the measures taken in advance to minimize the severity of the disaster and adaption refers to how we can adjust to this situation. To be able to manage drought, we will need to monitor the water intake and the quality of the water for that country or region so that we are aware of any water shortage. The government should make sure that the farmers and populations are educated and that they can organize themselves and effective drought management measures are in place, so if they were experiencing any type of drought, they would be calm. Water restrictions must be in place for the areas that are experiencing droughts. Government and other agents should take satellite images of the vegetation so that we can tell if there is a food shortage and so the government can make plans in advance to store food and can get food suppliers to help. There should be research and study done on when South Africa will be experiencing such weather conditions so that they can know when they are expected to have less rainfall. The government should install water storage facilities that can store water when there is a drought, like private boreholes and water storage tanks.

In summary, droughts are a serious problem in South Africa, which continues to have a negative impact on its economy and the well-being of its people. This problem needs to be solved.

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Impact of Droughts in South Africa: Essay. (2023, December 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
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