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The Drought Dilemma

<img src="drought.jpg" alt="Drought" width="300" height="200">

THE DEVASTATION OF DROUGHT

South Africa is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts since 1992. With temperatures soaring, dam levels have dropped alarmingly in current conditions lasting for the past four months. This country is known for its water scarcity and Government expects water demand to outstrip supply by 2025. Yet water pollution continues unabated by mining industries and the migration of people to urban areas.

The direct impact of drought is that farmers’ crops fail. South Africa is currently importing maize from Ukraine and Argentina and this will continue until 2016.

THE DOMINO EFFECT OF DROUGHT

  • Crops fail
  • Threat to food security
  • Decline in the economy
  • Threat to electricity supply
  • Rise in the price of food
  • Higher unemployment
  • Increased poverty
  • Conflict in communities due to scarce resources
  • Decline in public health
  • Loss of life to both humans and animals
  • Risk to public safety due to forest and veld fires

THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF DROUGHT

  • Diminishing or lack of food and water supply for animals
  • Damage or loss of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Increase in disease in wild animals
  • Wildlife migration
  • Increased stress or extinction of endangered species
  • Lower water levels in reservoirs, lakes, and ponds
  • Loss of wetlands
  • Wind and water erosion of soils
  • Increased forest and veld fires

THE IMPACT OF DROUGHT ON HEALTH

  • Mental health effects such as depression, anxiety, increased suicide rate due to financial worries
  • Health problems related to low water flows and polluted water
  • Asthma, respiratory infections due to dust and smoke
  • Infectious diseases caused by reduced hand washing
  • Malnutrition due to shortage or increased food prices
  • Mosquito-borne diseases such as encephalitis

Drought affects all aspects of living as it impacts on the availability of water. No life on earth can survive without water; therefore, all citizens should take responsibility to preserve this country’s water sources. Pollution and water waste should be rigidly controlled.

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