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about water and dustbowls « Previous | |Next »
September 26, 2009

The Spooner cartoon about use of groundwater highlights one future in southern Australia----desertification. However, it is ambiguous as to whether or not we are dealing with drought or a climate system shift. It doesn't take much to imagine a dust storm being stirred up by strong winds sweeping across this kind of dust bowl.


Australia epitomizes the "accelerated climate crisis" that global warming models have forecast. Australia is the harbinger of change, the canary of global heating.

In terms of the Fleurieu Peninsula it means little water for the Lake Alexandrina and Albert and the Coorong. Over the past decade, 94 per cent of the water extracted from the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin has been used for irrigation. Inflows into the Murray-Darling river system are down to 5% of their long term average.

The life saving surgery needed to protect some of the wetlands involves closing off (regulators) the Currency and Finniss rivers with a regulator (dam) at Clayton to stop the water flowing into Lake Alexandrina. Water is currently being pumped from the ailing Lake Alexandrina over the dam at Clayton to prevent acid sulfate soils in the newly created Goolwa Lake from being uncovered in summer and to put water into the Goolwa Channel for the boaties and tourists.

This raises the question:Is Australia’s environment now past a point of no return in terms of climate change impacts? Are we already in an ecological crash? The debate here in Australia certainly doesn’t indicate an acceptance that we are in a state of ecological crash. Australia is what a heated up world will look like and it is probably too late to save much of Australia--the southern part may well become a permanent dust bowl with no more agriculture.

Despite this NSW recently auctioned water from the Great Artesian Basin and it plan to sell off more licences. SA allows BHP to expansde its water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin by BHP Billiton. Clearly the states can't be trusted with groundwater.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:14 AM |