Australia's Epic Drought: The Situation is Grim









Australia has warned that it will have to switch off the water supply to the continent's food bowl unless heavy rains break an epic drought - heralding what could be the first climate change-driven disaster to strike a developed nation.

Australia's Epic Drought: The Situation Is Grim

By Kathy Marks in Sydney

Published: 20 April 2007

Australia has warned that it will have to switch off the water supply to the continent's food bowl unless heavy rains break an epic drought - heralding what could be the first climate change-driven disaster to strike a developed nation. The Murray-Darling basin in south-eastern Australia yields 40 per cent of the country's agricultural produce. But the two rivers that feed the region are so pitifully low that there will soon be only enough water for drinking supplies.

Australia is in the grip of its worst drought on record, the victim of changing weather patterns attributed to global warming and a government that is only just starting to wake up to the severity of the position.The Prime Minister, John Howard, a hardened climate-change sceptic, delivered dire tidings to the nation's farmers yesterday. Unless there is significant rainfall in the next six to eight weeks, irrigation will be banned in the principal agricultural area. Crops such as rice, cotton and wine grapes will fail, citrus, olive and almond trees will die, along with livestock. A ban on irrigation, which would remain in place until May next year, spells possible ruin for thousands of farmers, already debt-laden and in despair after six straight years of drought.

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But let's continue to sit and waste time continuing to debate whether or not this is real. Let us pretend that the government of PM Howard has truly cared about this all along knowing what the consequences would be for their continued political stonewalling.

This is what happens when you have a global warming denier as your leader. This is what happens when profit trumps morality. This is what happens when political gain supercedes doing what is right. This is what happens when people are not given information about conservation with an emphasis on proper agricultural irrigiation practices, fishing practices, and management of water reources for human use and consumption.

PM Howard is now seeing his country wither away and it is the people who are paying for it. Now we will see the special interests looking to invest in nuclear power and build expensive reclamation plants and desalinization plants with their coal fired plants that will not begin to make up for the damage already done in the amount of time it will take to meet this challenge today.

How many different organizations around the world have to tell the leaders of the world over and over again how absolutely urgent it is for governments to begin working on this crisis NOW for the sake of our planet? Exactly what has to happen before that morality trumps politics? How many suicides? How many mass migrations? How many lives shattered? How many species destroyed?

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and while I have hope that at least this crisis is in the consciousness of more people than it was last year, there is still such a long way to go to see progress that sustains our resources for future generations. The Howards and Bushes of this world need to move out of the way if they are not going to understand the reality of this situation and let those who do come to the forefront to join with people to try to do all we can to fix the damage we have done to this planet. That is, the damage that is not too far gone already. This is truly tragic.

And Australia is just the starting point.

Report On Australian Drought And Global Warming


There was a report put out in 2003 that already linked the drought to human induced global warming. And yet, here we are.

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