Home > Climate Change, Data, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Skepticism > Drought News From Australia (Guess The Date!)

Drought News From Australia (Guess The Date!)

LONG AUSTRALIAN DROUGHT NOW IMPERILS CITIES

Date: (try to guess!)

(Reuters) – A drought that has parched Australia’s rich eastern farmlands for the last few years is now forcing the nation’s cities to take drastic measures to save water.

Melbourne, the second largest city and the leading commercial center, has sharply restricted the use of water after an unusually dry winter that has left its reservoirs only half full.

Official cars will prowl the streets looking for people illegally watering their lawns or washing their cars. Anyone doing so risks a fine of $950.

The water board has warned the city’s 2.8 million residents that tighter limits will be imposed during the normally dry summer months unless the new measures succeed in cutting consumption.

With no seasonal rain due for almost six months, fears are growing that the drought could turn much of eastern Australia into the sort of dust bowl seen in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Dust Blankets Town

The first signs appeared recently when the remote mining town of Broken Hill in New South Wales reported its first dust storm in decades.

A cloud of red dust, swept by hot dry winds from the interior deserts, settled over the town, cutting visibility to less than 1,000 yards for several hours.

Sydney, Australia’s largest city, still has adequate water supplies, but a city official said the situation could change if a recent run of above-average temperatures continued and brush fires now smoldering around the suburbs burst out of control.

It is the rural areas, however, that are bearing the brunt of the drought, now in its fourth year in some areas. Prime Minister XXX has described it as the worst in living memory. YYY, president of the National Farmers Federation, said last weekend that the drought had become a disaster for the Australian economy as well as farmers. Government figures show that four out of five farms are affected by the drought.

The federation estimated the value of crops lost in the drought at $2.4 billion. Since economists say that every dollar of farm income generates two dollars in the rest of the economy through related industries, the total loss would be around $7 billion.

(this is the link if you want to know the original publication date…)

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  1. Colin Rebeck
    2009/11/17 at 01:47

    The one thing everybody fails to realize is that a drought from 30 years ago was serious anywhere in the world, but now the world is seriously over-populated with people expecting this commodity and others to continue for ever. Sorry, that is not going to happen, we need to control population growth and the argument that we have AGW or not is mute, the fact is there is not sufficient to perpetuate this growth.
    I am originally from South Africa where as a child I lived through a 4 year drought and many shorter ones. We could not bath, shower, water the lawn.
    I witnessed many tragedies, especially when cattle, sheep, goats and widlife of every kind became stuck in the mud at shrinking waterholes, where the carnevors just knocked them down and ended their misery. Great rivers stopped flowing, became puddles, and eventually dried up completely. I have seen herds of elephants digging in dry river beds with their trunks, sucking up water that was deep below the surface and after they were satisfied, every other variety of animal including the carnevors, herbavors, birds, reptiles, etc. would clamour for this little pond of water, which was sloched about , had feeces in it, and became mostly river sand within minutes. Not a pretty sight.

    I now live in Los Angeles, California where almost no rain falls for over 20 million people, but we have the California Aqueduct that channels water from reservoirs sometimes many mile away, which were in turn fed by many rivers and streams cascading down from the snowpack on the Sierra Nevada mountains at least 250 miles away. We are living through another drought, with water restrictions, etc.
    I will be in Australia, in December next month and hope and prey that wonderful rains will fall, hopefully before I arrive, as I feel extremely bad for the populations, both human and every other species.

    • 2009/11/17 at 06:51

      When I went to Australia in September 2007, it was the rainiest September in ages in Sydney. Perhaps that had something to do with Al Gore being in town?

      • Colin Rebeck
        2009/11/18 at 02:15

        Well, thanks for the reply.
        Sydney is still OK water wise, but Mebourne’s reservour is only 50% full, and Adelaide I am told is 100% bottled water.
        As previously stated the world, and especially the southern Hemisphere continues to be plagued by droughts, which are longer and more severe. More and more people are living and moving into these drought prone areas and making a very serious problem even more acute.
        If you have some time, your travel experience and advise, regarding travel in Australia would be appreciated.

  2. PKD
    2009/09/25 at 12:39

    Stop the press. Australia has had droughts before this one!
    Well that obviously disproves AGW! 😉

    Incidentally this is one news item you won’t be finding about 1982.

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25986961-29277,00.html

    Not that it proves AGW anymore than your 1982 article disproves it, but just so you know the point – this drought is worse than 1982 by some way.

    • 2009/09/25 at 14:02

      PKD – if you have solved the problem of detection and attribution there is a Nobel Prize in Physics waiting for you

  3. kuhnkat
    2009/09/25 at 03:05

    Like here in California, overuse does not a drought make.

    I have little doubt that they have not been having lots of rain. Then again, Australia is not known to be tropical forest or rain forest. This is simply another AGW tactic to scare people where reasonable measures to control resources would be preferable.

  4. twoblueday
    2009/09/24 at 16:26

    I saw the news about the massive dust storm along Australia’s east coast, including some startling images and video from Sydney. This led me to peruse some articles about the long-lasting drought in Australia, and thus to your blog.

    I’m not sure if the old news about drought from 1982 teaches the lesson that one mustn’t think the sky is falling, or the lesson that a warning was ignored rather than being responded to by conservation measures.

    Anyway, the whole story is scary, and I live far away from there.

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