RAIN BRINGS RELIEF TO WESTERN CAPE
Widespread rain on Sunday 19 January in large parts of the Western Cape brought relief to many drought-stricken areas, especially in the Southern Cape. The Buffeljags Dam in Swellendam overflowed and the Langtou River at Herbertsdale is running for the first time in four years. The Gouritz river is also partly running after good rainfall in the Albertinia region.
Mr Cornie Swart, president of Agri Western Cape, says the entire Breede River / Riviersonderend system has received plenty of water. “The drought in a large area east of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains to Plettenberg Bay has to a large extent been broken. However, this does not include the Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Montagu, Barrydale and Little and Central Karoo areas. Follow-up rains in these regions are critically needed for farm dams and catchment dam levels and for natural grazing to recover. In the Little Karoo we are holding thumbs that enough rain will fall in the mountains for rivers to run,” he said.
Mr Swart says most of the catchment dams in the Langeberg area up to Mossel Bay are full, which means agricultural producers now have irrigation water that they haven’t had for a long time. However, the level of the Keerom Dam, which producers in the Koo and Nuy Valley need for irrigation, is still a concern, he says.
“The West Coast district of the province also needs plenty of rain and is still critically dry. We believe that the winter rainfall regions will also have a good rainy season this year,” he said.