So after considerable trouble, more on this later, I gathered the rainfall statistics for Theewaterskloof Dam back to 1975 as these were the most readily available. That dam represents 53% of the total storage and other dams would be quite similar.
This revealed the following annual rainfall statistics: highest 972mm in 1977, lowest 319mm in 2004. Average over past 32 years is 561mm.
Now, if you do a three-year running average, we get a figure of 485mm for the latest three years (507/420/529). Going back to 1975, we have the seven other years when the prior three-year running average was lower than now: 472mm in 2010/2011/2012; 479mm in 2009/2010/2011; 471mm in 2003/2004/2005; and 465mm 2002/2003/2004; 438mm in 1990/1991/1992; 465mm in 1982/1983/1984; and, the worst was 428mm in 1978/1979/1980. In those years we had, through proper planning, surplus storage.
The bad news is that the last two drought cycles lasted four years - this is only year three.
Drought implies a lack of rainfall, so this is nowhere near the worst drought and this is only going back 33 years, not 100.
What really we have is the worst water shortage (storage/person) in 100 years, if not of all time. We do not have too little water but too many people.
The politicians cannot say that, as that implies bad planning. It is far easier to blame Mother Nature or global warming.
You also cannot blame the experts as they know that there are no quick solutions and that you need to build reserve capacity well in advance of population growth.
Unfortunately, in 2007/8 they warned of future problems, but we had good rain in 2008 of 729mm; and they warned again in 2012/3, but again we had good rain in 2014 of 729mm.
This gave the politicians the excuse to divert the required funds to projects that pleased the electorate rather than on some vital, but boring, water project.
This has now come back to bite them in the backside and we should make sure they feel it.
Now this ex-socialist wants us to pay for their errors and then also, in some fascist manner, wants us to stop using aquifer water so they can pump it out and sell it back to us at some exorbitant rate. I feel a class-action lawsuit coming on.
Also, her banging on about the “new normal” is also patently untrue and dangerous, and this message will only drive away tourism and new industries, and may even cause existing ones to relocate.
That is a very expensive way to get the water-people ratio right.
I do not see the point of declaring an emergency and then sticking to bureaucratic red tape. Build the dam desalination plants already! If the ANC tries to prevent this, let them be the ones brave enough to seek a court interdict.
As mentioned above, getting rainfall statistics proved quite difficult, mainly due to the SA Weather Service's charge for this information at extremely heavy rates, with an undertaking that the information cannot be disseminated to others.
I find this quite disgusting that taxpayers are expected to pay for information collected at their expense.