The Western Cape drought, and subsequent receding of the reservoirs, has exposed individuals and businesses to months of hardship and anguish. Both natural supplies of water and government allocations are seriously affected ahead of this year’s harvest.
After two years of dry conditions, things are coming to a head in 2018. Farmers are struggling to mitigate the effect of the prolonged drought, which is believed to be the worst in over 100 years.
“The 2018 harvest has been the most challenging I have ever known,” said Bibendum buyer for South Africa, Paul Meihuizen.
“The official figures at this stage indicate that the overall crop will be down by 15%, with the dryland Swartland region the worst affected, with crop sizes down by up to 50% and even higher in certain areas.”
He went on to say that the challenge for South Africa going forward will be linked to how wet the winter is in 2018, as some serious rainfall is needed to replenish the main bulk of storage dams.
Annual rainfall for 2017 was below average for the third consecutive year, 600mm compared to the usual 800mm, and 2018 looks set to be even dryer.
Although total annual precipitation will be down thanks to the Grand Solar Minimum, occasional deluges will occur resulting in biblical flash flooding.
These hit and miss storms will do little to help drought-stricken crops however, and will likely cause even more damage due to the extreme volume of rain falling.
2018’s drought is expected to be the worst since the early 1900s.
That takes us back to solar cycle 14, the last time solar output was comparable to today’s:
[Featured Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg]