It is no surprise that climate change has intensified globally which has brought severe water shortages and droughts to Australia. We find that Australia has almost nil annual rainfall and arid conditions prevail over the country. Desertification and deforestation have added to the scarcity. The answer to our question is that yes, Australia is running out of water. Let’s look at the major reasons why some of its major cities are looking to day zero when they will have to ship water from outside of the continent.
1) Australia’s climate
Australia’s climate is tropical North to temperate south. Central Australia is made of semi-arid bush and deserts where the temperatures rise up to 50 degrees. It doesn’t rain in Australia for years as it is a dry continent with an average rainfall of about 470mm per year. However, the amount of rainfall differs and each state experiences water shortage differently.
2) Factors contributing to aridity
Australia is arid due to various present factors. The west coast has cold ocean currents implying there is little evaporation for clouds to form. The East coast acts as a hurdle for rains to penetrate the inland. Subtropical high-pressure belt dominates the region which makes it both warm and dry. Being extremely susceptible to the southern oscillation El Niño brings long periods of drought and raised temperatures. However, more rain can’t act as a permanent solution.
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3) Water thefts
Factors like incompetent laws, the uncertainty of future supply, and poor societal attitude, contribute to the increase in water thefts. It was found that in many water theft cases it was due to the lack of water supply for farming purposes, like cotton irrigators stealing. Lack of water for the plants has a direct impact on their livelihood. There was no metering or measuring mechanism of groundwater and surface water in place which resulted in the lack of evidence in water theft cases.
4) Factors arising due to humans
Desertification has led to the loss of water. Adding to this, deforestation has increased floods and the salinity of soil which causes damage to agricultural plots. Groundwater sources are being used up very quickly. Not to mention, one of the biggest water drainage factors is farming. However, farms are left dry owing to people being more focused on survival.
Thus, it is high time that the concerned authorities take action and the citizens of Australia understand and combat climate change alongside the various industries because Australia is running out of water and day zero is approaching quicker than it seems.