Category Archives: Water

No excuse for this ABARES – CSIRO – BoM soil moisture map not being up to date

ABARES is the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences – they are having their annual conference on 4 – 5 March.
The ABC has just posted this story – Drought takes its toll on the soil
Featuring this map which compares the upper layer soil moisture from January 2014 with readings for the past 100 years.

Why not update the map following good rains in February in western Queensland and parts of New South Wales. Surely with the combined talents of ABARES – CSIRO – BoM they could have done that.

Would have changed their entire story – making the map compare late Feb 2014 soil moisture to the past 100 years would have resulted in smaller areas of scary brown patches.
Just think of the combined salaries.

ABC publishes animated Australian rainfall/drought history which exaggerates the so called “Millenium Drought”

The ABC page – Interactive: 100 years of drought in Australia – should open in a separate window.
Here is a chart of Australian rain anomalies 1900-2013 – it is obvious that the much ballyhooed Millenium Drought was a pussy of a drought Australia wide compared to the obviously dry years from 1910 right up to 1970.

Here is the ABC “drought bar” –

And you can see it must have been very subjectively constructed to show the Millenium Drought in such a bad light. I fully realize it is possible to argue about how bad some years were in various regions – there might be bad starts to the crop season. But the ABC map is of all Australia – so I am putting up a chart of all Australian rain to compare.

West Australian Auditor General says Water Corporation (Perth) loses billions of litres of water per year through leaky pipes – ignores “elephant in room” of huge losses by not managing catchments

Leaky pipes are small beer compared to the ~Billion GL lost since late 1990’s by not managing catchment bush.
I have written often on this issue over many years – Update 39 years of Perth dam catchment rain index 1975-2013 – has links to my letter and reply from WA Water Minister – plus some other key links.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott brings rain on flying visit to drought areas

Drought-hit farmers get chance to show Tony Abbott parched communities first hand
Lets review a decade of rain history – OK 2013 was a dry year – but 2012 was better than average for a majority of Qld – NSW ag regions but 2011 was even better and 2010 was tune up the outboard weather.
2009 looks below par – 2008 above par – 2007 above par – 2006 v dry in south east – 2005 mostly below par all over – 2004 a fair belt through Qld into NE NSW – 2003 mostly dry or average – 2002 start of worst drought in the history of history – 2001 dry or average – 2000 last good year before worst drought ever, or ten years of drought or whatever term the media wants to use. There, just walked through over a decade.
Downunder has been having droughts and floods long before the first settler nailed a jam tin on a fence to measure rain.
You can see the rain that has fallen in last 48 hour period –
Current month to date rainfall totals for Australia – you can adjust parameters.

We should all give thanks for our nation building pioneers

Much of our national infrastructure that we all take for granted – could never be built today against Green opposition.

I was reminded of this when reading the Mighty River Power www site with illustration of the hydro-electric dams on the Waikato River – the majority built more than 50 years ago.

And built in the main

  • by people with lower life expectancies than us -
  • by people whose earnings had less purchasing power than us -
  • working hours were often greater and many conditions & entitlements we enjoy were not thought of.

Imagine the green screams today if this chain of dams was proposed. In Australia we could never build the Murray Darling Basin dams today – to propose anything resembling the Snowy Mountains Scheme would be a waste of time – utilities have a struggle against green dogmas to augment city water supplies.

Short term drought in North West New South Wales after several good years – $Millions paid out by Govt.

My eye was caught by this media today in the SMH –
Drought relief: $7.6m for Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett – 21 Nov 13
Quote – Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said producers were dealing with “extraordinarily difficult circumstances” which had left farmers and rural townships “very stressed”.
“North-west of our state is undergoing a very serious drought. The producers in those areas are talking about the lowest rainfall …in more than 100 years,” he said.
We know the last few months have not seen much rain up there – checking out the BoM Drought maps.
3 months 1 Aug 2013 – 31 Oct 2013 – large areas not in drought
6 months 1 May 2013 – 31 Oct 2013 – most areas not in drought
9 months 1 Feb 2013 – 31 Oct 2013 – vast areas not in drought
12 months 1 Nov 2012 – 31 Oct 2013 – minor areas in drought
18 months 1 May 2012 – 31 Oct 2013 – a few areas in drought
24 months 1 Nov 2011 – 31 Oct 2013 – no areas in drought
Switching to the rain decile maps now
36 months 1 Nov 2010 – 31 Oct 2013 – above average rain
36 months 1 Nov 2007 – 31 Oct 2010 – above average rain

I wonder if a few patchy areas of short term drought should qualify as – “…a very serious drought”.
Particularly when considering that averaged over six years they have had above average rain. Whatever happened to putting feed aside in good times to get through the bad.

Example where media statements are wildly at odds with rainfall history

I first heard this on ABC radio this morning – then this headline appeared online – Drought-affected grazier in western Queensland says shooting cattle the only humane option. Including this quote – “…xxxxxx’s station near Hughenden, east of Mount Isa, has not seen decent rain for three years…”
This panel of 3 maps shows rain deciles for three 12 monthly periods –

on left 1 Nov 2010 – 31 Oct 2011 – in centre 1 Nov 2011 – 31 Oct 2012 – on right – 1 Nov 2012 – 31 Oct 2013
How does the ABC publish – “…has not seen decent rain for three years…” – when the facts are so easy to check online.
Obviously the last 12 month period has seen widespread drought in Queensland – but the first two years had a lot of average and above average rain.

Some dams in South West of Western Australia are overflowing now

This news item caught my eye – Dangerous behaviour as people canoe on the Harvey Dam which could overflow any moment
Seems counter what we would expect in view of the decade long propaganda from WA water authorities about low dam levels – “our drying climate” slogans – rain never filling our dams – Perth will die etc etc etc.

I see these dams are part of Harvey Water
Map Harvey Water dams –
Levels Harvey Water dams
Harvey Dam at 56GL and Wellington at 180GL are the two largest and are both full. Is there a reason in rainfall ? or catchment factors why these dams are full now ? At the exact time Perth water supply catchment dams are struggling to average 40% full.