Farmers urged to conserve water as El Nino brings dry weather

Using water to cool off in high temperatures
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Farmers are being urged to be vigilant and to conserve water as the coming summer season is expected to bring below-average rainfall due to the El Nino weather pattern.

The South African Weather Services (SAWS) has warned that there is a high chance of the occurrence of a heatwave in the interior parts of the country.

SAWS lead scientist Dr Christien Engelbrecht says, “This El Nino event is predicted to continue throughout our summer season into the early autumn of 2024.”

“We can expect a current El Nino event to have an impact on South African weather during this coming summer season of 2023 and 2024.”

Engelbrecht says El Nino is associated with warmer and drier conditions during the summer months. However, he added that there is some uncertainty about the impact of El Nino on the northeastern parts of the country.

“There is a possibility of normal to above-normal rainfall in the northeastern parts of the country,”

Engelbrecht adds: “However, we are still monitoring the situation closely and will provide updates as needed.”

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Farmers are being urged to take steps to conserve water, such as storing rainwater, using drought-resistant crops, and irrigating their crops more efficiently.

“We are also working with the agricultural sector to provide them with the necessary information and tools to help them cope with the anticipated dry conditions,” says Engelbrecht.

The El Nino weather pattern is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon that occurs in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It is characterised by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean.

The last El Nino event occurred in 2015 and 2016. It was one of the strongest El Nino events on record and was associated with severe drought in South Africa.

SA Weather Forecast I 17 November 2023