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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist


More violent storms ahead – expert

Leading water analyst Anthony Turton predicts rise in violent thunderstorms due to climate change. Recent storms in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal deemed severe.


With experts maintaining that government has not done enough to safeguard the environment, leading water analyst Anthony Turton is warning that South Africa is likely to see an increase in violent thunderstorms due to rising temperatures.

Turton said the impact from storms ravaging the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, were “quite severe”.

“I spent last week in KZN’s Ballito area, which was hit by multiple tornadoes causing damage over a large area, which caused chaos,” said Turton.

More inclement weather of greater intensity

“In terms of the trend in SA, we see more inclement weather of greater intensity, with KZN becoming more than a perpetual disaster zone.

“KZN has not even fully recovered from the 2020 flooding disaster and is now hit by another crisis.

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“We are seeing a shift in the seasonality of rainfall in SA, with the winter rainfall areas being hard hit.

“We see a change in the pattern of rainfall, as temperatures increase, leading to violent thunderstorms. Storm damage is becoming a bigger factor.”

‘The collapse of the aquatic ecosystems’

The biggest challenge facing South Africa is “the collapse of the aquatic ecosystems”.

“This is due to the seven billion litres of sewage that we put into our rivers and oceans every single day, with 80% going untreated.

“World Environment Day is also about aquatic ecosystems,” said Turton.

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“In the discharge of sewage, look no further than England which is having a major sewage crisis on the scale of South Africa – telling us that this is a global problem.

“The National Water Act has at its heart improving the quality of water in rivers.

“The Act makes it very clear that you have to classify all rivers from an A to E class and are obliged to manage your river to the next class upwards.

“An E class is an open sewer and a D class is a working horse river. All our rivers are so severely contaminated in SA.

“We have not done enough for our aquatic ecosystem,” he added.

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National Water Act has failed

Turton said the National Water Act has failed “if you take it as a metric to improve water quality in our rivers”.

“There has been a deterioration in water quality standards in the last 20 years,” said Turton.

“And if you take the metric as an intention to create catchment management agencies in all our water management areas, that has also failed.”

Environmentalist Nicky McLeod said he was encouraged to see a growth in collaboration between SANParks and organs of civil society.

“It is important that we break down the silos,” said McLeod.

ALSO READ: Gauteng bad weather: Warning of more rains in the coming days

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