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Old 08-18-2018, 07:34 PM   #1
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Until It Rains

Eastern Australia is in drought. It is serious,farmers are in real trouble. Probably the worst drought in 100years. Plenty of organizations are providing help, trucking feed from places unaffected distant regions despite the cost of feed and transport. And trucking in water too, cattle drink around 70 litres a day. But it`s rain they need, neither well wishers or Government can create that.
Drought is nothing new. It`s well over 100 years since Dorothea Mackellar wrote her poem "My Country",observing Australia a country "of droughts and flooding rains". Experience says it will rain, but it hasn`t, in rural areas,for around 2 years. The dry El Nino conditions currently have no predicted end. Coastal areas are less affected,but head inland, the effects are apparent. Australia looks like a big country, it is, but the further from the coast the less reliable the water needed for agriculture and the ability of the land to support a population.
At present the extreme dry is exacerbated by typical August westerly winds. Combine low humidity,dry undergrowth,wind, the risk of ignition from various sources, and the result is bush/wild fires,many uncontrolled, threatening property and people.Yesterday a very experienced water bombing helo pilot died when the attached water bucket line was fouled and brought the aircraft down.


Today winds are forecast around 30 knots. The Port Stephens area is at risk,somewhere I`ve always wanted to go cruising. It`s not a day to take the boat out,it won`t be pleasant doing some capping refinishing, but we will, and checking lines is a must in conditions like this.

These inconveniences pale into insignificance when we see parched paddocks, live stock at risk,depleted breeding stock as they cannot be fed and watered,and an inability to grow feed, and food, for people and animals. Major events like this can even cause recession. The effects on members of the farming communities are not pretty to watch either, they work long and hard in distressing conditions, trying to keep the farm going.

Until it rains.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:49 PM   #2
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Seems like the farmers lot the world over.... Maybe the worlds hardest profession...

Weather is changing. I won't argue why. Your guess is as good as mine.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:43 PM   #3
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Experience says it will rain, but it hasn't, in rural areas, for around 2 years.

What can be done about the parched areas? Are Australians pressuring their politicians for solutions?



Is there some sort of irrigation infrastructure that can be built to transport water to the rural areas soon in the future? Or is that too expensive?
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:44 AM   #4
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I lived in Canberra for a year in 2008. Loved the country and was able to travel around eastern Australia quite a bit. There was a pretty severe drought then. I remember crossing the Darwin River, one of the big ones, and being shocked that it was just a trickle. There was an old steamship dock just beside where I was standing, high and dry.

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Sounds like it's worse now than it was then. No easy solution.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:16 AM   #5
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Governments are getting onboard, in fairness they always have been, they could always do more depending on how individuals approach that but, they can`t make it rain. I worry we run out of animal feed to transport up and down and across the country, but in a way, distant producers are paying back the benevolence of those who helped them last time it was their turn,fortunately some areas can produce when others cannot.
There have been calls, for as long as I remember, to pipe water inland from coastal regions where there is more rain. It`s never happened, I imagine the logistics are difficult and cost enormous. A modest mountain range runs down the east, about 80km inland.
Sydney is approaching 60% water storage levels, if that happens the Sydney desal plant we`ve been maintaining for years but never supplied a drop of water, is supposed to start operation.
Meanwhile, today, there are suggestions of at least coastal rain coming, maybe even the somewhat feared "east coast low" pressure system,which can deliver gales, but also torrential rain, even the flooding rain of which Dorothea Mackellar wrote. We shall see. Ours is a largely arid land, but when rain falls in the centre, the whole country turns green with vegetation and the waterbirds congregate in an instant. It`s the old "droughts and flooding rains", feast or famine, with few but welcome, "Goldilocks" years.
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Old 09-08-2018, 01:38 AM   #6
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Until It Rains

It is, in Sydney,at least. Not much in rural areas, but some. It`s day 8 of Spring, light rain, heavily overcast, and 14C outside. Ugh .21C inside due to solid fuel heater. Mechanic part way through engine servicing, but doubt we`d be boating anyway, I like better weather. Last time out it was < 8C inside, when we got up. A cold, and chest infection, followed, immediately. Better Spring times are a coming,just not today.
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Miz Trom View Post
What can be done about the parched areas? Are Australians pressuring their politicians for solutions?



Is there some sort of irrigation infrastructure that can be built to transport water to the rural areas soon in the future? Or is that too expensive?
Two answers. Fewer people and desalination. Two rebuttals. Politicians are loathe to suggest fewer voters and efficient desalination requires NIMBY nuclear energy.

Stalemate locally while importing food stuff from afar. The good news is there is no shortage of liquid energy for powering ships and lorries carrying our essentials to the local outlets.
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:29 AM   #8
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Two answers. Fewer people and desalination. Two rebuttals. Politicians are loathe to suggest fewer voters and efficient desalination requires NIMBY nuclear energy.

Stalemate locally while importing food stuff from afar. The good news is there is no shortage of liquid energy for powering ships and lorries carrying our essentials to the local outlets.
A great part of the growth in the Australian economy, and growth in employment, comes from immigration increasing population. Most countries seem to think something is wrong if growth is absent.
Australia imports a good deal of liquid energy, our domestic petroleum supply is not adequate. We are the world`s largest(or close to) exporter of LPG, but as we are so export committed we are planning to import some for domestic supply.
Likewise, we are a huge exporter of coal, but import coal briquettes for domestic heating.
Beats me!
By some sleight of hand we claim that the Sydney desal plant is renewable energy powered. But as above, after years of expensive maintenance,it has not produced any fresh water save for testing, and apparently cannot do so before December 2018 as it requires about 8 months notice for production.
Our only nuclear plant is for medical needs.Several states are now largely using renewables and rely on states producing electricity from non renewable sources for stable supplies in time of elevated demand.
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