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Heat wave + water « Previous | |Next »
March 18, 2008

Temperatures in Adelaide hit 40.5 degrees yesterday, the 15th straight day they have soared above 35 degrees. It's a record and an indication of what climate change may well mean for southern Australia in the near future: hotter, drier, and less rain.

The heat wave has had a devastating effect on South Australia's farming sector and raised serious doubts about the sustainability of irrigation in the lower Murray River. The situation is at its most severe in the final reaches of the Murray River, including Lake Alexandrina, where water levels are so low even farmers with irrigation rights are finding their pumps left high and dry. Associated with the low levels is salinity, and many irrigators are carting in water because it's too salty for stock and plants.

I find it interesting that John Langmore's summary of the key issues confronting Australia, and proposals for addressing them which are both politically and economically feasible does not address water. Astonishing, given that Langmore claims that addressing these issues would enable Australia to gradually become a more secure, sustainable, socially just and vibrant society. How can Australia become a sustainable society without addressing water?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:44 AM | | Comments (2)


I heard on ABC radio today that the Adelaide heatwave was a 1 in 300 year event. This is according to a scientific model devised to predict future heat waves. How that was calculated in beyond me however hopefully Adelaide is now fine for another 300 years!

commentators who think in terms of drought ignore the way that climate change is changing things permanently. Climate change is defining what we mean by normal.

Adelaide is not fine. It is going to get hotter and drier with less water coming down the Murray River. Water restrictions are not a solution to this redefinition of what is normal. We need to find alternative supplies of water and to reuse the water that we already have.