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Marico Matters: D for Drought

"Celebrating in writing the occurrence of rain in the Marico ultimately results in a cumulative body of words and lines.

From which one might gather that Rain must be a regular visitor to these Bushveld regions.

However - nothing could be further from the truth!

The daily reality in Marico is drought...

Time in the Marico consists of sun and heat and dust."

Egbert van Bart

Marico Bushveld Dam: BEFORE

Marico Bushveld Dam: AFTER (Thanks to Dave Morgan for this image)

When it finally rained in the catchment at the end of December our jubilant tears contributed to the rising water levels in the Groot Marico. Compacted dirt softened and turned to sludge as the rain poured, first in a deluge, then in a gentle, soft penetrating stream for several nights and days. Weeds and grass emerged for the first time in three seasons, followed by heavily scented blossoms and bright, green bushveld.

The months of years preceding this lifesaving event had been D for DESPERATE! Crackling thunder storms and heavy grey clouds - in the South, just where they needed to be - had produced either nothing at all or a few hot drops which heated and dried the earth even more. D is also for DEPLETION and DEATH: local dams dried up and boreholes emptied.Farmers were unable to bring in their crops. Cattle and game starved to death in the brittle veld. Those communities living downstream were unable to extract water from the Bushveld Dam or the river for farming or household use. How do I convey that desperate longing, that yearning as we stare upwards at an empty sky, the hopes and prayers for redemption by rain?

Although water levels are not up much the Upper Groot Marico River is flowing strongly again. Rain has provided a reprieve from the heat and stress and ensures our survival and continuation in this harsh and magnificent place.

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