“This is the first time in 30 years the river has been this low,” reports Bertrim Oliver, who lives in Suurbraak, a small village that straddles the Buffelags Rivers on the way to or from Barrydale in the Western Cape.
Where I live, in line with the confluence of the Caledon and Buffelags, neither river seems to flow anymore, and the Buffeljags is fast drying up.
“Never seen it this bad,” comments Matthew Mentz, “but we have had worse droughts, which makes me think water tables are disappearing.”
The Municipality of Swellendam administers Suurbraak and supplies farmers and all of us who live ‘oor die rivier’ (across the river from the village) with irrigation water from the Buffeljags, which they pump to a storage dam up the hill.
When the level falls below the pump feed we on this side of the river will be in trouble as the irrigation dam water is our only source – unless we have rainwater tanks of sufficient capacity.
Organic farmers, Mark and Dori September, are therefore at risk.
Dori and I spoke with the Suurbraak Municipal Manager, Desmond Marais, about the situation. Marais confirmed that bulk water is available from Swellendam (purchasable via the Municipal cash office).
Update, Wednesday 2018-11-21
Two days later the heavens opened (see below), and it then poured throughout most of the night.
The next morning, what do we see:
In view of the comment below by Carol Browne in response to Matt’s hypothesis about groundwater levels mentioned above, it will be interesting to monitor for how long the flow continues.
The featured image at the head of this post is of Dori and Mark’s and my goats surveying the new geography of the Buffeljags
This is a developing story.