Saturday, 22 December 2007


I have been keeping track of the rainfall here at my place since 1996 and here are my annual totals in mm :
1996 : 713.5
1997 : 583.5
1998 : 682
1999 : 776
2000 : 922
2001 : 849
2002 : 511
2003 : 674
2004 : 813
2005 : 802
2006 : 470.5
2007 (so far) : 701.5

The problem this year has therefore not been so much here in Adelaide, but rather record low rainfall all down the Murray catchment, from Queensland to NSW, Vic. and eastern SA. Since at least half the water in our taps comes from this one river, as its the only one we have in SA, (the rest comes from reservoirs around Adelaide) and the fact that we are at the end of the river, without a national water authority things are in a bad way. The problem will not be alleviated in the slightest by restricting the watering of our gardens because, in total, Adelaide people use less than 1% of the water taken from the Murray and that includes use in parks, schools, offices, pools, laundries and showers etc. That is everything not including industry - by far the biggest wasters of water and they have not been given incentives to recycle or re-use or reduce their water, and have no restrictions!

Oh no my blood is beginning to boil again! Well, you asked for information, Pattie, and you can begin to see why I am so furious... Governments sell water licenses which allow irrigators to take water straight from the river for their crops and the governments make money out of this - lots of money. The more licenses they sell the more money they get so, guess what ?? They have sold too many and when there is not enough rain to fill the river we have to stop watering our gardens and the poor old irrigators begin to lose their fruit trees and livelihoods because of incompetent management of life-sustaining water, our water.

So march in the streets and shout out to those who shouldn't be in power but are, to catch all run-off from the metropolitan area before it gets to the sea. We have enough rain in Adelaide for all our water requirements and we must not waste it.

If you have read that wonderful book Adelaide: ecology of a city, by Prof Chris Daniels and associates, you would know that Adelaide's rain, pre-settlement, rarely reached the sea. The high sandhills along the coastline meant that there were miles and miles of wetlands on the eastern side, providing habitat for wildlife during summer. Some water eventually meandered along to the Port River and then out to sea but most filled waterways and mangroves and swamps all year round. Only in the 1900's did governments begin to call this "storm water" and build concrete channels to flush it all out to sea so that developers could have a field day making money "reclaiming land", like at West Lakes.

Now it is time to "reclaim the water" by catching the water flowing down all those concrete drains, cleaning it up and selling it to industry to use so the rest of us can grow our vegetables in peace again. It seems so simple, yet they are talking about desalination plants that will cost billions and ruin our precious sea-life and cause more problems that they will solve. I think I had better go out into the rain to cool my head off...


Maggie said...

Last night I just sat and listened to the rain and at one point it sounded like Niki slopping and guzzling water as she does, but I checked twice and she was sleeping peacefully.Is there a giant water guzzler loose, I guess it was just those water sucking drains you wrote about, such a waste.I like Pattie's water bottles with the words "water is precious, so are you".

Maggie said...

Andrew & Cath's new water tanks must be happy. My water gauge is the dog's bowl & now my Dad asks me how much water was in the bowls today.
Some people down the street dug up their newly paved double driveway & put in a big (about 10 ft deep & 8 ft in diameter) water tank in the ground. Now they are repaving over the top. The things you see when you walk the dogs.

Pattie Baker said...

Its' just amazing to me how global our local issues are! Thanks for giving me some background on your water issues!

It has rained here all week, by the way, so I'm guessing that means many people think the drought is over here. But it ouwld take three years of these rains daily for the drought to end, and that is assuming the water is managed properly. Which it is not.

So, what to do? Together, we cna learn from each other in 2008. Of that I am certain.

Barb said...

very interesting