Advertisement

Re-imagining the potential of effective drought responses in South Africa

  • Coleen Vogel
  • David Olivier
Original Article

Abstract

Extreme droughts can result in crippling impacts across local and regional scales. In South Africa, droughts are regular occurrences presenting several opportunities to learn from and improve on drought risk reduction efforts. Drought responses in South Africa, however, show a rather ‘messy’ reality. In the early 1990s, for example, an expanded set of various actors, not only restricted to science ‘experts’, collectively shaped and expanded the traditional drought response that had dominated in the country enabling a rethinking of risk reduction. Recent extreme droughts, occurring over 20 years later, appear to have produced interventions that have taken place with little focussed recollection of these past drought responses. A comparative assessment of the responses to droughts over time reveals some reaction but little effective ‘deep’ thinking about drought. The persistent truths of recurring drought, a failure to learn from the process of drought rather than the event, the problems of the scientific uncertainty linked to droughts and the usual crisis response to drought made by a select few, are all shown to be threats to ensuring adaptation to repeated droughts in the future.

Keywords

Climate change and climate variability Drought governance Climate variability and uncertainty Science-policy-practice interface 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Prof Willem Landman (University Pretoria), Dr. Debra Roberts (EThekwini Municipality, Co-chair Working Group II, AR6), Mr. Koos Van Zyl (AgriSA) and Dianne Callear (actively involved in the National Consultative Forum on Drought) and others interviewed, for their valuable comments and suggestions. Thanks to Dyani Jeram for proof reading and to Lyla Mehta for earlier comments on drafts. The valuable inputs of reviewers greatly improved this article.

References

  1. Abrams L, Short R, Evans J (1992) Root cause and relief restraint report. National consultative report on drought, secretarial and ops room. Johannesburg, 8 October 1992Google Scholar
  2. Adams L (1993) A rural voice, strategies for drought relief. Indicator SA, 10:41–46. http://journals.co.za/docserver/fulltext/indisa/10/4/177.pdf?expires=1530105424&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=312E48DF64C72E234837599AF53CD39E. Accessed 27 July 2018
  3. Baudoin MA, Vogel CH, Nortje K, Naik N (2017) Living with drought in South Africa: lessons learnt from the recent El Nino period. Int J Disaster Risk Reduct 20:128–137.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2017.05.005 Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benson C, Clay E (1994) The impact of drought on sub-Saharan African economies: a preliminary examination. ODI. Working Paper 77, London. http://lib.riskreductionafrica.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/1113/the%20impact%20of%20drought%20on%20sub-saharan%20african%20economies.pdf?sequence=1. Accessed 27 July 2018
  5. Bond P (2012) Politics of climate justice, paralysis above, movement below. University of KwaZulu Natal Press, Scottsville. http://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC130226. Accessed 27 July 2018
  6. Bruwer JJ (1989) Drought policy in the Republic of South Africa. Part I. Drought Network News 1:14–16Google Scholar
  7. Buckland R, Eele G, Mugware R (2000) Humanitarian crises and natural disasters: a SADC perspective. In: Stokke OS (ed) Food aid and human security. Frank Cass Production, London, pp 181–195Google Scholar
  8. Chappells H, Medd W (2012) Resilience in practice: the 2006 drought in Southeast England. Soc Nat Resour: Int J 25:302–316.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2011.618177 Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. City of Cape Town (2017) City continues proactive water demand management and medium-to-long term planning. http://www.capetown.gov.za/media-and-news/City%20continues%20proactive%20water%20demand%20management%20and%20medium-to-long%20term%20planning. Accessed 12 April 2018
  10. Cleaver F (2012) Development through bricolage, rethinking institutions for natural resource management. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Cornell S, Berkhout F, Tuinstra W, Tàbara JD (2013) Opening up knowledge systems for better responses to global environmental change. Environ Sci Policy 28:60–70.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2012.11.008 Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CSIR (2015) Media statement issued at the El Nino Summit hosted by the South African Weather Services, ACCESS, CSIR, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and Wits University. 17 November. CSIR, Pretoria. https://www.csir.co.za/media-statement-issued-el-nino-summit-hosted-south-african-weather-services-access-csir-university. Accessed 17 April 2018
  13. Davies M (2002) Late Victorian holocausts El Niño famines and the making of the third world. Verso.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0893569032000113587. Accessed 12 April 2018
  14. De Klerk A (2018) De Lille pushes the drought panic button. Times Live 18 January. https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-01-18-de-lille-pushes-the-drought-panic-button/. Accessed 12 April 2018
  15. De Lille P (2017). Twitter feed. https://twitter.com/PatriciaDeLille/status/900645356677025792. Accessed 12 April 2018
  16. Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) (2010) National climate change response green paper, Notice 1033 of 2010. Government Gazette. 25 November. https://www.environment.gov.za. Accessed 12 April 2018
  17. Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) (2011) National climate change response policy white paper. Government Printer, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  18. Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) (2013) Long-term adaptation scenarios flagship programme (LTAS) for South Africa. Climate trends and scenarios for South Africa. South Africa, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  19. Department of Water Affairs (DWA) (2013) National water resources strategy, water for an equitable and sustainable future. Pretoria, South Africa. https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/NWRS2-Final-email-version.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2018
  20. Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) (2016) Annu Rep 2016/17. http://www.dwa.gov.za/documents/AnnualReports/AR%202016-17_FINAL_Inhouse_210917.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2018
  21. Disaster Management Act (2002) Government Gazette. http://www.cogta.gov.za/cgta_2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DISASTER-MANAGEMENT-ACT.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2018
  22. Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (DiMP) (2012) Southern Cape drought disaster, “The scramble for water”. Stellenbosch University, StellenboschGoogle Scholar
  23. Douglas M (1986) How institutions think. The Frank W. Abrams lectures. Syracuse University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Drought Monitor July/August (1993) Focus on drought relief programmes, with a special emphasis on nutrition issues. Issue number 4. Braamfontein, JohannesburgGoogle Scholar
  25. Drought Monitor June (1993) Development: key to drought management, including a focus on various task forces. Issue number 3. Braamfontein, JohannesburgGoogle Scholar
  26. Drought Monitor Sept/Oct (1993) Overview of regional contacts and regional forums. Issue number 5. Braamfontein, JohannesburgGoogle Scholar
  27. Feola G (2015) Societal transformation in response to global environmental change: a review of emerging concepts. Ambio 44:376–390.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-014-0582-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Garcia R (1981) Drought and man: the 1972 case history. Vol. 1: Nature pleads not guilty. Pergamon, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Herman P (2018) City of Cape Town withdraws drought levy proposal. https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/city-of-cape-town-withdraws-drought-levy-proposal-20180119. Accessed 14 April 2018
  30. Hodgkin J, Anders P (1992) An assessment of drought conditions in the South Coast area of Natal, A field report for the period 30/9/92–9/10/92, Water Supply Task Force – Juliet team. Drought Forum, South AfricaGoogle Scholar
  31. Holloway A, Chasi V, de Waal J, Drimie S, Fortune G, Mafuleka G, Morojele M, Penicela Nhambiu B, Randrianalijaona M, Vogel C, Zweig P (2013) Humanitarian trends in Southern Africa: challenges and opportunities. Regional Interagency Standing Committee, Southern Africa. FAO, Rome.  https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.4727.8243
  32. Hornby D, Vanderhaeghen Y, Versveld D, Ngubane M (2016) A harvest of dysfunction – rethinking the approach to drought, its causes and impacts in South Africa. Oxfam Report, Johannesburg. http://www.oxfam.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Final-Final-OZA-Oxfam-Drought-Report.pdf. Accessed 12 April 2018
  33. Hurlbert MA, Montana E (2015) Dimensions of adaptive water governance and drought in Argentina and Canada. J Sustain Dev 8:120–137.  https://doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v8n1p120 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ison RL, Collins KB, Wallis PJ (2014) Institutionalising social learning: towards systemic and adaptive governance. Environ Sci Policy 35:105–117.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2014.11.002 Accessed 27 July 2018Google Scholar
  35. Janse van Vuuren A (2016) Maize crop a ‘disaster’. Economy 7 January. https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/economy/maize-crop-a-disaster-1967664. Accessed 17 April 2018
  36. Jorgensen B, Graymore M, O’Toole K (2009) Household water use behaviour: an integrated model. J Environ Manag 91:227–236.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2009.08.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kings S (2015) Parched Free State hit by mass exodus. Mail and Guardian. 16 October. https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/mail-guardian/20151016/281651073947293. Accessed 17 April 2018
  38. Land and Agriculture Policy Centre (LAPC) (1993) Debt relief and the South African drought relief programme: an overview. Land and Agriculture Policy Centre, JohannesburgGoogle Scholar
  39. Landman WA, Beraki A, DeWitt D, Lötter D (2014) SST prediction methodologies and verification considerations for dynamical mid-summer rainfall forecasts for South Africa. Water SA 40:615–622. http://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/wsa/v40n4/06.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2018
  40. Leach M, Scoones I, Stirling A (2010) Dynamic sustainabilities: technology, environment, social justice. London, Earthscan  https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849775069
  41. Lemos MC, Boyd E, Tompkins EL, Osbahr H, Liverman D (2007) Developing adaptation and adapting development. Ecol Soc http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss2/art26/. Accessed 28 April, 2015, 12
  42. Local Government Climate Change Support Program (LGCCSP) (2018) http://www.letsrespondtoolkit.org/. Accessed 17 April 2018
  43. Loorbach D, Rotmans J (2010) The practice of transition management: examples and lessons from four distinct case studies. Futures 42:237–246.  https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.645 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lotz-Sisitka H, Wals AEJ, Kronlid D, McGarry D (2015) Transformative, transgressive social learning: rethinking higher education pedagogy in times of systemic dysfunction. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 16:73–80.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2015.07.018 Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mach KJ, Planton S, von Stechow C (eds) (2014) Annex II: glossary. In: Pachauri RK, Meyer LA (eds) Climate change 2014: synthesis report. Contribution of working groups I, II and III to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Geneva, Switzerland, pp 117–130Google Scholar
  46. Mehta L (ed) (2010) The limits of scarcity, contesting the politics of allocation. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  47. Mulligan G (2018) Will Cape Town be the first city to run out of water? BBC News, January 12. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42626790. Accessed 14 April 2018
  48. Naidoo D (2016) Respect water or pay the price. Mail and Guardian. https://mg.co.za/article/2016-01-07-respect-water-or-pay-the-price. Accessed 17 April 2010
  49. Naidoo D (2018) Increasing our resilience to extreme weather and climate events – weather sector advisory panel on weather and climate. Advertising supplement to the Mail and Guardian, May 4-10 2018Google Scholar
  50. National Disaster Management Framework (2005) https://www.westerncape.gov.za/text/2013/July/sa-national-disaster-man-framework-2005.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2018
  51. Nelson DR, Finan TJ (2009) Praying for drought: persistent vulnerability and the politics of patronage in Ceara, Northeast Brazil. Am Anthropol 111:302–316.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01134.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ngaka MJ (2012) The multi-stakeholder approach: Drought risk reduction in South Africa. In: Katsanakis R (ed) Disaster risk reduction in Africa; UNISDR informs; special issue on drought risk reduction. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, Regional Office for Africa. https://www.unisdr.org/files/26438_isdrafricainformsspecialissuesondro.pdf. Accessed 14 April 2018
  53. Ntuli N (2015) Drought closes KZN sugar mill. Business Report. https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/companies/drought-closes-kzn-sugar-mill-1806304. Accessed 17 April 2018
  54. Pahl-Wostl C, Sendzimir J, Jeffrey P, Aerts J, Berkamp G, Cross K (2007) Managing change toward adaptive water management through social learning. Ecol Soc http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss2/art30/. Accessed 14 April 2018
  55. Pearce R, Dessai S, Barr S (2013) Re-framing environmental social science research for sustainable water management in a changing climate. Water Resour Manag 27:959–979.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-012-0184-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Republic of South Africa (2002) Disaster management act, No 57 of 2002. Government Gazette. http://www.cogta.gov.za/cgta_2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DISASTER-MANAGEMENT-ACT.pdf. Accessed 14 April 2018
  57. Republic of South Africa (2012) National development plan. https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/Executive%20Summary-NDP%202030%20-%20Our%20future%20-%20make%20it%20work.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2018
  58. Rittel HWJ, Webber MM (1973) Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sci 4:155–169.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01405730 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Saayman IC, Adams S (2002) The use of garden boreholes in Cape Town, South Africa: lessons learned from Perth, Western Australia. Phys Chem Earth 27(11–22):961–967.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-7065(02)00099-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sainath P (1996) Everybody loves a good drought; stories from India’s poorest villages. Penguin Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  61. Satgar V (2018) A people’s water charter for South Africa. Curiosity, Watershed. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. https://issuu.com/witscommunications/docs/curiosity_issue_4. Accessed 08 May 2018
  62. El Sawah S, Mclucas A, Mazanov J (2013) Using cognitive mapping approach to frame the perceptions of water users about managing water resources: a case study in the Australian Capital Territory. Water Resour Manag 27:3441–3456.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-013-0357-5 Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Mapfumo P, Onyango M, Honkponou SK, El Mzour EH, Githeko A, Rabeharisoa L, Obando J, Omolo N, Majule A, Denton F, Ayers J, Agrawal A (2015) Pathways to transformational change in the face of climate impacts: an analytical framework. Climate Dev.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2015.1040365
  64. Seneviratne SI, Nicholls N, Easterling D, Goodess CM, Kanae S, Kossin J, Luo Y Marengo J, McInnes K, Rahimi M, Reichstein M, Sorteberg A, Vera C, Zhang X (2012) Changes in climate extremes and their impacts on the natural physical environment. In: Field CB, Barros V, Stocker TF, Qin D, Dokken DJ, Ebi KL, Mastrandrea MD, Mach KJ, Plattner GK, Allen SK, Tignor M, Midgley PM (eds) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. A special report of working groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, and New York, pp 109–230Google Scholar
  65. Smith C (2016) Policy uncertainty frustrating SA’s agricultural development. Fin24. https://www.fin24.com/Economy/policy-uncertainty-frustrating-sas-agricultural-development-20161219. Accessed 14 April 2018
  66. South African Weather Service (2018) What kind of drought does South Africa experience? http://www.weathersa.co.za/learning/climate-questions/36-what-kind-of-droughts-does-south-africa-experience. Accessed 17 April 2018
  67. Swilling M (2014) Rethinking the science-policy interface in South Africa: experiments in knowledge co-production. S Afr J Sci 110:1–7 http://markswilling.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SwillingSAJS.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Templehoff J (2015) The ‘long now’ of southern African water: exploring aspects of enchantment and disenchantment in Brandfort. J Transdisciplinary Res Africa 11:104–121 http://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC180829. Accessed 27 July 2018Google Scholar
  69. Tschakert P, Dietrich KA (2010) Anticipatory learning for climate change adaptation and resilience. Ecol Soc 15.  https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-03335-150211. Accessed 14 April 2018
  70. Tyson PD (1986) Climatic change and variability in Southern Africa, vol 8. Oxford University Press, Cape Town.  https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.3370080411 Google Scholar
  71. Union of South Africa (1923) Drought Investigation Commission, Cape Times Ltd. Government Printer, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  72. Van Dyke AIJM, Beck HE, Crosbie RS, de Jeu RAM, Liu YY, Podger GM, Timbal B, Viney NR (2013) The millennium drought in Southeast Australia (2001–2009): natural and human causes and implications for water resources, ecosystems, economy, and society. Water Resour Res 49:1040–1057CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. VOCFM (2018) Water crisis coalition calls public to mobilize. http://www.vocfm.co.za/water-crisis-coalition-calls-public-mobilize/. Accessed 14 April 2018
  74. Vogel C (1994) (Mis) management of drought in South Africa: past, present and future. S Afr J Sci 90:4–6 http://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC96885. Accessed 27 July 2018Google Scholar
  75. Vogel C, Van Zyl K (2016). ‘Drought - in search of sustainable solutions to a persistent 'wicked' problem in South Africa’. In Salzmann N, C Huggel, SU Nussbaumer, G Ziervogel (eds) Climate change adaptation strategies: an upstream-downstream perspective. Springer, Cham, 197–211.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40773-9_11
  76. Vogel C, Koch I, Van Zyl K (2010) “A persistent truth” - reflections on drought risk management in southern Africa. Weather, Climate Soc 2:9–22 https://www.jstor.org/stable/24907334. Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vogel C, Colvin J, Scharfetter B (2014) Adaptation to climate change – what it may mean for the water resources sector. Deliverable to the Water Research Commission as part of the K5 / 1965 project. http://cwrr.ukzn.ac.za/docs/default-source/research-project-reports/final-booklet-k5-1965.pdf?sfvrsn=0. Accessed 14 April 2018
  78. Whitfield S (2016) Adapting to climate uncertainty in African agriculture – narratives and knowledge politics. Routledge, London  https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315725680
  79. Wilhite DA, Glantz MH (1987) Understanding the drought phenomenon: the role of definitions. In: Wilhite DA, Easterling WE, Woods DA (eds) Planning for drought: toward a reduction of societal vulnerability. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, pp 11–27Google Scholar
  80. Wilhite DA, Sivakumar MVK, Pulwarty R (2014) Managing drought risk in a changing climate: the role of national drought policy. Weather Climate Extremes 3:4–13.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wace.2014.01.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wolski P (2018) How severe is Cape Town’s “Day Zero” drought? Significance magazine, The Royal Statistical Society, 24–27.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-9713.2018.01127.x. Accessed 27 July 2018,
  82. Ziervogel G, Shale M, Du M (2010) Climate change adaptation in a developing country context: the case of urban water supply in Cape Town. Climate and Development 2:94–110.  https://doi.org/10.3763/cdev.2010.0036 Accessed 27 July 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zucchini W, Nenadi O (2006) A web-based rainfall atlas for Southern Africa. Environmetrics 17:269–283.  https://doi.org/10.1002/env.748 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global Change InstituteUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations