Ricochet News

2017 generally a dry year for the Eastern Cape, seasonal forecast does not look promising

Jan 8, 2018
2017 generally a dry year for the Eastern Cape, seasonal forecast does not look promising

Rainfall over the Eastern Cape for 2017 was generally dry, and the situation does not seem likely to improve in the short-term, particularly in the western parts where the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Kouga Local Municipality have had to impose water restrictions.

"Areas to the north east part of the province tended to be above normal," explained Garth Sampson, Client Liaison Officer for the Eastern Cape at the South African Weather Service.

"Areas generally west and south west of Mthatha yielded below average figures, as can be seen below. 

"This has been aggravated by a prolonged period of below average rainfall in many of these areas."

He said that East London, Grahamstown, Port Alfred, Port Elizabeth, Patensie and Joubertina have had two years of below average annual rainfall (2016-2017). 

"Graaf Reinett and  Cradock have experienced below average rainfall for 3 tears (2015-2017)," Sampson added.

"Mthatha and Somerset East have had 4 years of below average rainfall (2014-2017). Uitenhage, is the worst off with 5 years below average rainfall (2013-2017)."  


First figure average - Second figure 2017 total rain

                                                AVERAGE                            2017 total

Queenstown                     442 mm                                550 mm

Elliot                                      658 mm                                725 mm

Mthatha                              675 mm                                587 mm

Graaf Reinett                     304 mm                                216 mm

Cradock                                376 mm                                347 mm

Joubertina                          394 mm                                207 mm

Patensie                              459 mm                                340 mm

Uitenhage                           423 mm                                315 mm

Somerset East                   370 mm                                243 mm

Port Elizabeth                    616 mm                                494 mm

Port Alfred                          585 mm                                485 mm

Grahamstown                   523 mm                                504 mm

East London                       834 mm                                807 mm

"The seasonal forecast does not look promising with only near normal rain forecast for most of the Eastern Cape," said Sampson.

"Considering the above and that the dam levels are fast approaching the 25% mark, it is vital that we all conserve water."