Deciduous fruit farmers are considering contingency plans for the coming season as the drought in the Western Cape, and parts of the Eastern Cape, shows no signs of abating. It has been one of the driest winters in recent history, with unprecedented low dam levels and pressure on the water infrastructure servicing Cape Town and other municipal areas in the region.
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Growing fruit trees is a long-term investment with orchards bearing fruit over multiple seasons. Fruit farmers, who are reliant on irrigation water to produce their crops, apprehensively await rains to fill up their dams. The water situation differs between regions – with some growers reporting enough water to at least see through most of the summer, while others report only fractions of the required amounts of water available for the coming season.