Climate change is already making it harder to fill Australia’s main dams, such as Warragamba, and the problems are likely to get worse, new research finds.CREDIT:BRENDAN ESPOSITO
The Thomson Dam, Melbourne’s largest reservoir, is about 56 per cent full.CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
THE SOLUTION IS OBVIOUS …
If things were not so crook(ed) in Australia this predicament would be readily solved …
KEY POINTS …
–climate change is reducing inflows into Australia’s water catchments
–looking at an average of 20 per cent reduced reliabilityacross all the catchments
–additional 17.5 million people to increase water demand; as supply is reduced from lower rainfall and rising evapotranspiration rates
Australia’s water supply on a collision course with population
24 JANUARY 2020
A new study by University of NSW scientists warns that climate change is reducing inflows into Australia’s water catchments, which will cause chronic water shortages as Australia’s population balloons:
“We are looking at an average of 20 per cent reduced reliability in the future across all the catchments considered,” said Ashish Sharma, a professor at UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an author of the report.
“While this might not matter a lot up north where you have lower demands compared to inflows, this is pretty serious down south where the demands are high and we are already seeing impacts of the drought,” he said…
Compounding the problem will be the likelihood that cities will lift consumption of water for parks, gardens and other uses.
“Because of that increased demand, you’ll see a greater reduction in reliability [of storage],” Professor Sharma said…
Professor Sharma said that, while authorities could find further ways to reduce demand, at some point a threshold would be crossed and governments would have to make bigger investments…
The mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy guarantees chronic water shortages.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ medium (panel B) projections, Australia’s population will swell by 17.5 million people over the 48 years to 2066, reaching 43 million people:
As shown above, all of Australia’s projected population growth will come from net overseas migration (NOM) – both directly as migrants step off the plane and indirectly as they have children (counted as ‘natural increase’).
The additional 17.5 million people will massively increase water demand at the same time as supply is reduced from lower rainfall and rising evapotranspiration rates due to climate change.
Put simply, the ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy is a fundamental threat to Australia’s water security.
The best thing our policy makers could do to safeguard the nation’s water supplies is slash immigration, which is running at around triple the historical average.
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.
A growing water crisis has forced the NSW government to begin planning for an expansion of Sydney’s desalination plant in the next couple of years if significant rain doesn’t fall.
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