Anxious City of Cape Town officials pleaded with scientists attending a panel discussion on the Western Cape's dry weather to predict this year's expected rainfall figures – and what is likely to happen in the near future. The measured tones of several distinguished climate scientists were in stark contrast to a frantic request for help from two city officials who arrived late at Monday’s panel discussion. “We need your help. We need a consensus from you – this is really important‚” said city official Sarah Rushmere. “It is getting down to the point where we have to make emergency decisions. Daily we are making decisions‚” Rushmere said‚ adding that the city was facing a revolt on social media from panicked customers. City water supply manager Barry Wood said he was also concerned about talk that the dry conditions could be linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon. “It is this kind of information that we need to be clear on. It is a bit worrying if we look at what the weather servic...

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