Why it's important to classify droughts correctly

Not all droughts are the same, explains Professor Mike Muller.

Muller, a visiting adjunct professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, has written an insightful piece on The Conversation.

He says it's important to make the distinction between a meteorological drought, an agricultural (or farming) drought and a hydrological drought.

RELATED: Pupils forced to relieve themselves in the bushes in drought-stricken Makhanda

In his article, he defines them as follows:

  • A meteorological drought occurs when rainfall is less than average over a significant period, often a month.
  • An agricultural drought occurs when a lack of rainfall leads to a decline in soil moisture affecting pastures and rain-fed crops.
  • A hydrological drought occurs when a meteorological drought significantly reduces the availability of water resources in dams, rivers, lakes and underground.

This is what the Western Cape is currently experiencing, Muller says.

RELATED: Karoo farmers forced to cull 'weak sheep' amid worsening Northern Cape drought

The fourth type of "drought", Muller says, is the kind that is caused by "unthinking human action" prevalent across SA.

We don't really understand our weather, our climate and how it affects our water supply very well.

Mike Muller, Visiting adjunct professor - University of the Witwatersrand

People really need to think about what drought means, who it's affecting and what's causing it.

Mike Muller, Visiting adjunct professor - University of the Witwatersrand

He says defining a drought correctly becomes vital when government officials declare drought or disaster emergencies and put in place disaster aid.

A drought's classification has implications for the kind of relief and aid that will be expected.

There has been a bit of debate in the agricultural community about what they can expect from government.

Mike Muller, Visiting adjunct professor - University of the Witwatersrand

Read his original published on The Conversation.

Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Why it's important to classify droughts correctly


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Sars office operated with skeleton staff to allow union meeting, says caller

Sars office operated with skeleton staff to allow union meeting, says caller

Senior citizen 'Ruth' called in to the John Maytham show to say a Sars office was depleted after announcement of union meeting.

Why did security fail when CCTV cameras picked up train-fire suspects?

Why did security fail when CCTV cameras picked up train-fire suspects?

EWN's Kaylynn Palm reports on Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula's presser after 18 carriages burnt out at Cape Town Station.

Pupils forced to relieve themselves in the bushes in drought-stricken Makhanda

Pupils forced to relieve themselves in the bushes in drought-stricken Makhanda

EWN's Kaylynn Palm has visited Makhanda and Graaff-Reinet, two small towns which have felt the brunt of the Eastern Cape drought.

Weather data suggests drought, heat and a poor harvest likely across SA

Weather data suggests drought, heat and a poor harvest likely across SA

Weather predictions don’t bode well for summer crops, warns Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at Agricultural Business Chamber.

Hartenbos farmers worst-hit by drought crisis, says Mossel Bay deputy mayor

Hartenbos farmers worst-hit by drought crisis, says Mossel Bay deputy mayor

Mossel Bay municipality will implement water restrictions soon. Farmers who rely on the empty Hartebeestkuil Dam are struggling.

Farmers in Western Cape to get R50M in drought relief funding

Farmers in Western Cape to get R50M in drought relief funding

Local government have also approached the Department of Agriculture for an additional R147 million for further drought support.

Popular articles
Want to start a small business? Lessons from a successful serial entrepreneur...

Want to start a small business? Lessons from a successful serial entrepreneur...

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Nic Haralambous, founder (at the cost of R5000!) of funky sock company Nic Harry.

Considering emigration? Financial planner discusses the affordability of leaving

Considering emigration? Financial planner discusses the affordability of leaving

Can you afford to leave South Africa? Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Barry O'Mahony on what to consider before deciding.

'SAA’s collapse plays nicely into hands of a politically constrained Ramaphosa'

'SAA’s collapse plays nicely into hands of a politically constrained Ramaphosa'

After dithering for fear of spending political capital, SAA is now out of the President’s hands, says Pieter du Toit (News24).

There is no Ubuntu in how Khanya Cekeshe has been treated - Thuli Madonsela

There is no Ubuntu in how Khanya Cekeshe has been treated - Thuli Madonsela

Former public protector says the eight-year sentence was too harsh and it shouldn't matter that he was not a Wits student.

‘South Africans are getting poorer and poorer because of politics’

‘South Africans are getting poorer and poorer because of politics’

SAA is a classic example, says Isaah Mhlanga, Chief Economist at Alexander Forbes Investments.

[WATCH] Grandpa with new iPhone wanting to set pictures for contacts goes viral

[WATCH] Grandpa with new iPhone wanting to set pictures for contacts goes viral

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

[WATCH] Couple dancing in traffic has social media talking

[WATCH] Couple dancing in traffic has social media talking

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

How to make your first R1 million (after that it just becomes so much easier)

How to make your first R1 million (after that it just becomes so much easier)

Rich. Wealthy. Financially free... Call it what you will; the first million is how you get there. Warren Ingram on his book...

Why is Mauritius rich and Madagascar poor?

Why is Mauritius rich and Madagascar poor?

Comparing Madagascar and Mauritius – a tale of two islands, by the Gordon Institute of Business Science's Dr Lyal White.