Johannesburg – South Africa’s Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, on Monday, said the country suffered the worst drought since 1960s in the past few months.
The government announced the allocation of 350 million rand (about 26 million dollars) to fight the drought that gripped parts of the country.
It came after several provinces reported severe water shortage, with Free State and KwaZulu-Natal declared “disaster areas” to which water supplies were being delivered by water tankers.
Mokonyane said that small dams in parts of the country have dried up.
“The government would arrange the delivery of water to drought-hit areas,’’ she said, urging responsible use of water.
Meanwhile, Rand Water, the country’s main water supplier, said it might be forced to introduce “water restrictions” in Gauteng province if there was no rainfall in a short time.
Water shortage has reportedly affected 2.7 million households in South Africa.
The drought has also dealt a blow to agricultural production.
John Purchase, chief executive officer at South Africa’s Agricultural Business Chamber said maize crop production is expected to fall from 14.25 million tonnes in 2014 to an estimated 9.84 million tonnes this year.
“This means the country may have to import food to avert shortages,’’ he said.
According to the World Food Programme, significant drops in crop production are also expected in other Southern African countries, like Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar and Lesotho.
Weather forecasters predict the record dry season will continue as the outlook for the coming rain season is not positive. (Xinhua/NAN)