28 January 2009

Drought: Climate Change Shows Its Face

We're in the midst of the most serious drought we can remember since moving to Braamekraal some 13-and-a-bit years ago. So far, here at near the end of January, we've had only 10.5mm of rain this month, with little prospect of any more. "Normal" for January would be between 60 and 70mm. The last decent rain we've had -- any single fall of over 10mm qualifies as "decent" -- was in mid-November. The neighbouring town of Sedgefield has run out of water and the municipality is having to truck in drinking water for the town's residents.

Triage Time

I've written-off the contents of a couple of beds full of seedlings. They're easily replaced if/when rain returns.

The House Dam is almost empty -- I have at most two more waterings for the veggie garden. At that I am only watering the well-established Tomatoes, Chillis and Squashes. Everything else must fend for itself.

The house water tanks are fine -- we still have around 12kl in the storage tanks (out of 15kl capacity) which would last us (I guess) 8 or 9 months. By the time things got that serious we'd probably be the last people left alive in the region. ;-) But the garden is suffering, as is the forest.

The New Normal

This, I have no doubt, is the bare face of Climate Change. For the past 10 years we've seen the weather patterns steadily change -- always towards the more extreme... always towards dry...

Why, then, are the local government bureaucrats and politicians running about crying about a "crisis"? Crises are ephemeral in nature! This is the new reality: Less rain. Less frequent rain. Less reliable rain. More extreme weather events. More frequent extreme weather.

And it looks like it is too late to do anything about it.

In Consequence?

I guess we're going to be selecting seed on the basis of Drought Resistance this year.

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