Killer Drought: Dry as a bone
"The drought experienced in the country in the past few months has ravaged the world’s oldest protected estuary, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park."
The drought experienced in the country in the past few months has ravaged the world’s oldest protected estuary, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
The park has had its lowest recorded rainfall in 65 years, worse even than the previous droughts in 2002 and 2009.
The park, in conjunction with government conservation initiative Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, has implemented a number of interventions, such as relocating game, drilling new boreholes and upgrading existing ones for staff, visitors and wildlife.
There is also the active pumping of water to water holes to supply animals with drinking water.
Only 30% of the lake’s surface area currently has water.
iSimangaliso is spending R10 million to cut off the Umfolozi River from the ocean by moving about 100 000m³ of sand so that it can fill the St Lucia estuary, a World Heritage site.
Andrew Zaloumis, the CEO of iSimangaliso, says fresh water from the Umfolozi River is more critical in times of drought.
The restoration of the Umfolozi’s natural course will be done later, as it is important for the hydrological functioning of Lake St Lucia.
“Without this balance, Lake St Lucia will not recover,” he says.
At war with the shifting landscape. A dry portion of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in St Lucia will be filled with water from the Umfolozi River when soil is moved, at a cost of R10 million, to divert the course of the river.
A female nyala gets ready to drink water that has been pumped into the park because of the harrowing effects of drought.
A hippo drinks from a pan that has been revitalised by the park.
Giraffes bend low to sip the water that lies between life and death.
The dried up estuary iSimangaliso Wetland Park in St Lucia