Though pressure has since eased, a few months ago the drought in the Western Cape led to stringent water restrictions and fears around "day zero". But as the El Niño climate effect threatens to return, the rest of SA has perhaps been too quick to forget what it was like just two years ago across the entire country. In 2015, El Niño brought on the worst drought to hit SA since 1982, with the government declaring five of the nine provinces drought disaster areas for agriculture. The El Niño effect was first recognised by fishermen in South America in the 1600s. The SA Weather Service defines El Niño as "the warming of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean which influences atmospheric circulation, and consequently rainfall and temperature in specific areas around the world". In large parts of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, SA and Madagascar, the 2015 rainfall season was the driest in 35 years. Though the phenomenon faded by May 2016, it halted crop p...

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