A warning of heavy rain has been issued by the Climate Change & Disaster Management (Early Warning Unit) of SA’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishereies. The areas hardest hit will be the southern parts of the Cape Winelands, Overberg and Eden Districts of the Western Cape, as well as the extreme south-western parts of the Eastern Cape.
People are advised to:
- avoid cutting grass in the rainy season, as this will cause nutrient depletion.
- avoid applying fungicides and pesticide, for the sake of plants and animals.
- avoid applying N fertilizer, as Nitrogen loss is higher during heavy rain, and will cause your plants to be burned.
- avoid dumping fertilizer in one spot, as this can cause the roots below the fertilizer to be burned and die.
- avoid irrigation, as waterlogging can occur, causing nutrient depletion.
- cover Urea licks to prevent them from becoming toxic.
- provide shelter for animals, as young ones die easily.
- leave cultivated areas coarse.
- relocate/move animals to a safe place.
Heavy rainfall raises the water level. When the water level is higher than the river banks or the dams, water comes out from the river and flooding occurs.
- Construct proper drainage system: shallow drains due to silts must be cleaned constantly as they ensure proper water irrigation.
- Increased evaporative losses, mechanical land treatment of slopes, such as contour ploughing or terracing, to reduce the runoff coefficient.
- Construction of small water and sediment holding areas.
- The construction of floodways (man-made channels to divert floodwater).
- Terracing hillsides to slow flow downhill.
What to do when heavy rainfall is forecasted:
- Be extra cautious of pests and diseases after rain has fallen, as high moisture content and the high temperatures may trigger these.
- Assume that floodwater contains sewage and might be harmful for human and livestock consumption.
- Before leading livestock across a river, check whether the water level is rising. This is especially necessary if it is already raining, but remembers that there could be a storm further upstream and floodwaters could be on their way.