Defining a drought is not that easy and it often depends on who you ask, the South African Weather Service explains on its website. Most would consider a drought as a period of unusually dry weather that persists long enough to cause issues such as crop loss and water supply interruptions. But because dry conditions develop for different reasons, there is more than one definition of drought.

Meteorological drought is not a disaster, the authors of Drought and Water Crises: Science Technology and Management Issues, Donald Wilhite and Margie Buchanan-Smith, wrote: “Whether it becomes a disaster depends on its impact on local people and the environment. Therefore, to understand drought we must understand it as both a natural and social phenomenon.”

Additionally, to meteorological drought, there are three primary types of drought:

  • Agricultural drought

Is a lack of soil water to support the growth of crops, caused by too little rainfall, whether it meets the requirement of a meteorological drought or not.

  • Hydrological drought

This type is caused by the low availability of surface water, such as low water levels in dams, rivers, lakes, and other reservoirs. This can be caused by a meteorological drought, high water uses or massive water leaks for example.

  • Socioeconomic drought

Is the effect of human activity, which may be in the form of lack of water supply, grazing land or food.

Professor of agrometeorology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Michael Savage, noted that in order to determine these the different types of droughts, one would require an intensive study using data for the whole of South Africa. Governments have the fiduciary and constitutional duty to make a positive impact in terms of resolving the concerns of citizens and the private sector alike.

MEB believes that crisis management is an effective solution in the face of drought conditions. We are experts in mitigating the effects of water scarcity and are here to lead you on a solution orientated problem-solving journey. Simply contact our offices today!