Water Wise Watch: February
In this issue:
Water Wise Tip of the Month from Leslie Hoy
"Use your grass clippings as a 2cm deep mulch in the garden.
Spread it loosely over the soil and don't dig it in."
This month with Water Wise - Brought to you by Rand Water and Water Wise
The hottest year on record
2016 has officially been declared the hottest year on record by two leading US science agencies, with average land temperatures warmer than the previous year, and eight successive months that were individually the warmest since records began in 1880.
This data has further confirmed the theory of climate change in the minds of many and should encourage people to make a concerted effort to reduce their impact on the environment and its precious natural resources.
South African weather further indicate the possibility of continued drought conditions across most of the country despite wetter conditions in the early part of summer. It is anticipated that recovery from drought will be slow and caution should be shown when using our limited water resources. Remember to be Water Wise this summer!
Flufftail Festival 2017
BirdLife South Africa is pleased to announce that the third annual Flufftail Festival will take place at Maponya Mall in Soweto from 31 January - 6 February 2017. Although recent rains have somewhat alleviated drought conditions over parts of our country, as South Africans we cannot afford to be complacent about water. With the threat of global warming looming ever larger, it is still important to raise awareness about our most critical natural resource, and its importance not only to ourselves, but also to the birds and other wildlife that depend on it for their survival. In light of this, and in celebration of World Wetlands Day (2 February 2017), BirdLife South Africa, in partnership with Eskom, Rand Water (Water Wise), Rare Finch Conservation Group and the Department of Environmental Affairs, will once again host the annual Flufftail Festival.
Join Water Wise at the Flufftail Festival to celebrate the importance and beauty of water and wetlands. We look forward to seeing you there!
Drought FAQs www.droughtsa.org.za/faq.html:
- A drought is defined as a period of below average rainfall. The severity of a drought is determined by how far below average the rainfall is, for how long the dry period occurs, and to what extent available waterreaches the groundwater.
- An agricultural drought occurs when there is not enough moisture to support average crop production and grass production.
- A hydrological drought occurs when there is reduced stream flows and water reserves in aquifers, lakes, and reservoirs fall below a statistical average.
- A meteorological drought occurs after a prolonged period of below average rainfall (usually less than 70%), creating natural shortages of available water.
- South Africa has a unique topography that creates a variability in climate in both space and time.
- South Africa also has one of the most variable river flow regime in the world.
South African Water Restrictions
The Drought SA portal was created by the WRC in order to provide up-to-date information on the current South African drought. As part of its services, it sources information on water restrictions throughout the country. Water Wise has brought that tool right to your fingertips.
Current dam capacities*:
Vaal Barrage Dam:
*at time of print
Weather at Zwartkopjes
(Base Station - Zwartkopjes, South of Johannesburg)
December in Review
Parameter: 2016 2017
Min. Temp (oC) 12.4 8.0
Max. Temp (oC) 38.1 31.7
Average Temp (oC) 22.1 20.4
Rainfall (mm) 187.2 106.8
For more information on weather in South Africa click here
Did you know?
South Africans are already using 98% of our available water supply, and 37% of our clean, drinkable water is being lost through leaking pipes and dripping taps
Water in the News
Western Cape's dam water levels continue to decline:
"The Western Cape's average overall dam level has dipped below 40% and is continuing its rapid decline despite efforts to reduce water consumption."
Umgeni in deep water:
"The state-owned entity warned that if Durban and its surrounding areas didn't receive enough rain by the end of March, residents are likely to face a 25% restriction on water supply."
Wetland and floodplains - important but ignored ecological sites:
"The incessant rains that most parts of the country have been receiving are a good pointer to a fruitful agricultural season but behind the veneer of positivity lies an expose on the dangerous planning that often disregards important ecological factors."
Shaming and blaming: Five ways to tackle the water-wasters in your life:
"You've tightened the taps, skipped a few showers and used grey water on the plants. Now the real challenge is how to get others to do their bit for saving water during the worst drought the country..."
Days to remember:
World Wetlands Day
31 January - 6 February 2017: