September 2, 2010 at 5:55 am #253075
With easing of Victorian water restrictions there maybe an implied notion that the drought is over. Political expediency seems to suggest that with lots of rain, easing of water restrictions, storage in dams on the rise and a looming election that the drought is over for now.
What are the more natural determinants of a droughts end?September 2, 2010 at 7:49 am #475376
What absolute rubbish we have survived with restrictions for the last few years why not let the storages fill up then lift the restrictionsSeptember 2, 2010 at 8:32 am #475377
same as up here in qld a few good falls of rain and our illistrious leader declares she has broken the drought or we should be gratefull they broke the drought.
sorry a drought is only broken when we get successive years of seasonal follow up rain to a seasonal flood that brought drought initially, so successive to me means good seasons for as long as we had bad seasons.
they are too loose on wate restrictons up here while they buy votes and favour, next times the dams empty it may be a very long time before thye fill you see teh whole climate issue is about degraded and missing habitat and not only here in australia, it involves our near neighbours as well, it’s called flow and and we have long since gone beyond break even with the loss of forests.
in our home we treat water like gold have done for a very long time now. weput in a big tank ahead of lifestyle appearances.
lenSeptember 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm #475378
Our family is still suffering from the near 15 years of drought since 1991.
Yes it has rained, but the financial implications of an extended drought will continue to impact our business and lifestyle for the next 20 years.
One good year does not a drought break.
Government decisions can be terribly arbitrary too. We lost our drought assistance because we live on the northern side of the road, when our neighbours on the south side continued to get theirs. They had decided that our area was no longer drought stricken…but theirs was!September 2, 2010 at 10:30 pm #475379
They have lifted some restrictions in Adelaide, but leaving some in place as permanent water conservation measures.
The water table is at its best for 10 years, glad the townies will be able to grow their own veg without having to bucket from the shower for a while at least!
Doesn’t affect us, we were on rainwater anyway, and with new shed going up should have plenty of catchment even for a dry summer.September 2, 2010 at 11:11 pm #475380
Our restrictions have been eased to stage 2 progressively from Stage 4 that they had been on for a few years. Our storages are currently 50% full. I can’t see them being eased much more unless we get a lot of rain over spring. Even if we just got back to permanent water savings many people are so used to the tight restrictions I can’t see them going back to what we were using before. Apart from anything else many here have changed to more water efficient appliances, showers, toilets etc, etc that some of these savings will be ongoing. And all those that put tanks in the garden are unlikely to stop using them when we are all on user pays water rates.
Not sure really how they define the drought as ending but the ramifications for the country after this extended drought are going to be around long after the dams are full again.September 3, 2010 at 3:11 am #475381
As a farmer and a climate scientist I don’t believe there is such a thing as “drought” in Australia. Thinking that we are “in drought” rather than thinking we are “having unseasonally high rainfall” is what got the white settlers into major trouble in the first place. Same as thinking Australia has Englands’ fertile soils with high cation exchange capacity. Our soils, in part, are derived from rocks that are arguably the oldest on the planet – the Archaen greenstone terrains around Marble Bar in WA. Not much mineral nutrition in a 3.5 billion year old metamorphosed rock, let me tell you.
“Drought” is normal for this country.
Its the pollies that have conditioned us to think that it isn’t.September 3, 2010 at 3:36 am #475382
Apart from the obvious typo, Sprite, a period of exceptionally low rainfall is pretty much the definition of drought.
For purposes of society and lawmaking, there are times when it is suitable to declare a drought period in an area, and provide drought relief.
A flood may just be a ‘drainage problem’ but it is equally devastating to those affected, requires some rescue effort, and needs some sort of definition to distinguish a severe event from a normal fluctuation.
Not all the rocks are that old, the area around Mt Gambier is fairly recent volcanic rock, in fact the Mount itself is far from being declared a dead volcano.September 3, 2010 at 3:57 am #475383
After rattling the synapses a bit I think that when the ground water is recharged and subsequent rain maintains an
appropriate level of ground water then the drought is over. Of course the human need for water both reduces the
flow into ground water and takes to much out of ground water therefore making the problem of fluctuating rain a
problem in years of low rainfall. However, regardless of periods of sustained high rainfall and fullish reservoirs I
think its critical that there are both restrictions on indidual consumption & the amount of people consuming. The Vic
governments 155 liter a day per person target was great and I think it should remain. The desal plant is a white
elephant as consumption has dropped and other water saving srtategies are maintaining adequate storage levels.September 3, 2010 at 7:32 am #475384
Thats all very interesting but my point relates to perception and spin. As a farmer where does drought stop and normal begin? I’ve been in plenty of green droughts and lost stock and have also experienced what some might term a “normal” drought and lost no stock. From a farming perspective, are you in drought if there are no changes to your bottom line?
As part of a thesis, I’m presently attempting to design a suite of sustainable ecological indicators which may help farmers in the future plan their businesses so that “drought” (in the political sense) is largely irrelevant. Such indicators are already being trialled around Uralla in NSW with considerable success. But old habits die hard. Farmers want the most out of their land and are often not willing to “leave a little salt on the bread” to ensure a business remains viable in perpetuity….farmers struggle so much as it is, that asking them to leave paddocks locked up because an indicator has been triggered requires big changes in thinking, vision, and courage.
Humans have interesting reactions to risk. Many researchers have found that long term, nebulous risks, such as climate change, tend to have little immediate influence on behavioural change because the consequences of decisions are not immediately forthcoming. Thus a drought-proofing solution require framing from a “Prospector” perspective (ie: economic “real” benefit first, then ecological). Dealing with global common goods, such as water and air, are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by all. (google Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” if interested)
Sometimes I wonder if we had been colonised by a country with naturally poor soils and low rainfall (say….Spain) whether we would not be managing our own resources far more sustainably now? Perhaps? Hmm..well Spain’s agriculture is in worst shape than ours at the moment…so…..perhaps not.:rol:
PS Greth I generally don’t pull people up on typos on this site. Its not a science site – its a community one. If I pulled everyone up on typos I’d be talking to myself…and that would be pretty boring 😆September 3, 2010 at 8:44 am #475385
The typo made your point unclear. It wasn’t until someone pointed it out that I went, ‘oh, that’s what she meant’ but I wholeheartedly agree with your premise that it’s a matter of perception. Isn’t everything?September 3, 2010 at 8:54 am #475386
Thinking that we are “in drought” rather than thinking we are “having unseasonally high rainfall” is what got the white settlers into major trouble in the first place.
Your typo there, I think you meant low rainfall not high!
Yes I do agree that farmers, horticulturists etc, should be prepared for a bad season, or a string of them, as well as hoping for a good one, or string of them. A lot of what they do has to be based on guesswork tho. They can’t be expected to have the financial resources to plant tens of thousands of dollars worth of grain every year in the hope it will be a good one, and then simply carry the cost forever if there are 4 or 5 bad years in a row.
It is bad pasture management to allow everything to be eaten to ground level, whether the season is good or bad, and there are farmers who do allow paddocks to get degraded like this. Our own were in appalling state when we arrived, strict restrictions on stock numbers has improved the soil and weed problems a lot.September 3, 2010 at 11:50 am #475387
When you have above average rainfall over winter and sit and wait for your locusts to come and eat your crops?
Thats what is feels like at the minute.September 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm #475388
Our stocking rate is so low it wouldn’t matter if locusts came, there is a lot of extra grass in the system. If it really did start looking like a virulent situation, we ask the agister to remove his sheep pronto, and he will do so. Or we would eat them.
Then it is only a battle between empty paddocks and locusts, we might still take some damage, but not much. As soon as better seasons returned, we would have prize paddocks in our area, make a mint from agisting a very few sheep from our favourite farmers.September 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm #475389
Dont have room for 450 steers in the freezer:uhoh:
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