Not a spot of rain since 2014. The consequences are devastating for the inhabitants of Adelaide, a rural town in South Africa. Rain was expected to water the land weeks ago but cattle ranchers and farmers are still waiting.
The city’s dam has been dry for an entire year and the pipes are in terrible condition. Even tanker trucks that have been sent to supply the town with water have broken down. Now, the town’s crops are dying, livestock is disappearing, and everything is unbearably dry.
The drought means that Adelaide’s 15,000-strong population is running low on water in their homes. Some households have already been without running water for seven months and have resorted to recycling wastewater to meet their needs. Every drop of water is conserved for drinking and eating, with barely enough left over to wash themselves and their gloves. Farmers have had to begin culling their herds and flocks as it has become too difficult and costly to keep them. Other farmers have been forced to choose between abandoning their livestock or facing financial ruin. Schools have also been forced to close because there is no water for cooking school meals or running the schools’ toilets. Students are instead helping their parents lug water home from reservoirs located far away.
The crisis Adelaide is facing has been badly handled by the government, according to the victims of the drought. Indeed, the authorities acted too late and are said to have intervened only when the dam was struggling at just 4% capacity. Government officials have even admitted now that poor water management on their behalf and corruption within the government are at the root of the problem. What’s more, the shortage is a direct result of the world’s current climate emergency. In this particular region of South Africa, the temperatures are twice as high as the rest of the world. If things do not change soon, it’s likely that these figures will climb even higher.