Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Drought

In Australia, we have a pretty big drought going on at the moment. In fact, it is estimated to be our biggest drought in 1000 years. Over here in South Australia, we have had water restrictions since 2003 which were tightened again last month...

Obviously I knew our rainfall wasn't too crash hot, but I never realised the full impact of it until we visited the Flinder's Ranges a month ago which was extremely dry even though it was only one month into spring (some photos here) . Last time we were down that way in October a few years ago we weren't able to get to the Finders due to flooding as we didn't have a four wheel drive, big difference!

And then after returning, I spoke to a lady I buy regularly from at a nearby farmers market and she was about to cull one hundred of her remaining sheep that have been diminishing over the years. She said they have a beautiful wool, almost like silk but she can't afford to maintain them any more and is forced to sell some to be canned as pet food... I felt very sad for her.

I remember around 10 or so years ago one summer, there was a bit of a drought and all the wombats on my mums property were dying. I remember she tried to save one but no matter how much he needed water and food, he just wasn't interested and continued to waste away. She had him put on a drip at the vets, but he died a few days later... I would hate to think how they will go this summer...

The River Murray, which flows through 3 states is part of South Australia's main water supply. On average each year the River Murray receives 11,000 gigalitres. Guess how much we have received in the past 5 months?

Only 600 gigalitres... and we are yet to enter summer, summer in South Australia is our driest time of the year.

It is pretty bad huh?

But, it gets much worse, I was reading just now about a city in NSW called Goulburn. These people are only allowed to use 150 litres of water per person per day and they are not allowed to use water outside at all, can't even use a bucket outside...

here is the article

But you know, as I was looking for figures on capacities of our reservoir's and Murray I came across other articles that shed a different view on why this is happening for starters this one.

I wonder how much of this is climate change from carbon dioxide emissions and how much of this is actually from our own wastage of our precious water, be it our own personal use and even farming practices.
Did you know that here in Australia we grow cotton and rice? And I am not speaking of growing it right up in the north either... what the heck are we doing growing cotton and rice in a climate which clearly doesn't support it?
Here we are in a pretty bad drought and gawd knows how much water which would be put into much better use in the Murray, is instead used to grow cotton and rice...

Then you have all that water in the eastern states being wasted through evaporation by irrigation... I guess that is one good thing South Australia had the foresight to do by installing pipes.

Maybe its about time us Australians started to show a lot more respect to our climate and start living within our means!


FAT BITCH said...

Hi Sherrie :)

I read about your drought here in the Internet and feel terrible that you guys are in such a bad situation. Perhaps my country (the USA) as well as others in the world will try to aid you by sending you water. They really should do this in my opinion. I hope the world's greatest minds will find a solution to this soon. HUG

Sherrie said...

Aww thanks FB! :)