I knew there was a drought in Australia, but I wasn’t aware of how significant it was. Most of Australia are experiencing critical water shortages, to the point that the country is starting to engage in efforts to recycle sewerage water. Many cities get their water from huge dams that store it up and allow processing for major urban areas. Most dams around the country are getting to the point that there’s less than 20% of their capacity. The drought has been going for over 5 years now, and dams are expected to run dry within the next 2 years.
When an entire country starts to run out of water, serious changes are going to happen to the country’s resources and the lifestyle of the population. A great deal of Austalia’s exports are based on wheat, sheep and cattle. If there isn’t any water, these resources are going to ‘dry up’. Exports are going to drop, and the country’s economy will suffer. Due to lack of irrigation, the inland deserts are going to expand and take over once-fertile areas of land. Rural populations will begin disappearing as people move into the cities, which are going to become overpopulated and under-resourced.
With the rural population in the cities, who’s going to be producing the food and materials that are required to sustain the populations? Wheat, meat and dairy products are going to disappear, and food will need to be imported from other countries, which will only drive up the cost. With exportable resources disappearing, wages will drop. Unemployment will skyrocket. Crime will increase. Food and water shortages will result in riots and fighting. Eventually the country will reach ‘third world status’, and join the likes of African countries who are experiencing droughts lasting decades…
Of course that’s all ‘worst case scenario’ stuff… But it’s interesting to ponder as we’re planning on moving there. I’m happy that if things get too bad in the future there’s still always the possibility of moving back to New Zealand, where there’s more rain than they know what to do with.
These thoughts were inspired by what I’ve been reading about today, regarding water shortages, and drought-affected areas experiencing drops in productivity, and the introduction of recyled sewerage. At this stage, the water is going to be used in non-consumable areas, like the watering of plants and irrigations, but if the drought continues on through the years, Australians are going to be forced to drink recycled sewage water.
In Canberra today, you’re not allowed to water your garden except for a few hours in the morning and evenings on weekends only, and only then with buckets and watering cans. You’re not allowed to wash your car unless it’s at an authorised automatic car wash that uses recycled water.
Deidre wants to pack up bottles of water here in NZ and ship it over to Canberra… Even if customs lets the ‘biological material’ into the country, I don’t think it’s going to make much difference with improving our quality of life.
It’s going to be very interesting with how things will be changing for us…
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