Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oz on the Front Lines

Australia is really on the front lines of the global warming disaster. They are being forced into taking steps to maintain services like water delivery in the face of climate change, but still are lagging when it comes to changing the root cause of it: the use of fossil fuels.
Also from IPS

Harvesting Stormwater as Drought Bites Hard
By Stephen de Tarczynski

MELBOURNE, Nov 12 (IPS) - With large parts of southern and eastern Australia enduring an ongoing drought, the regional centre of Orange -- some 260 km west of the nation’s largest city, Sydney -- is developing Australia’s first scheme to harvest stormwater in order to service the town’s requirements.

"It’s designed initially as an emergency response because there was no other alternative source of water for us that we could get access to quickly," says Orange council’s director of technical services, Chris Devitt.

He told IPS that while the Blackmans Swamp Creek Stormwater Harvesting project offers a "fairly quick solution" to Orange’s water crisis -- the town’s two reservoirs are currently at 40.5 percent capacity, up from a low of 27 percent in early September following seasonal rains -- the council wants the program to become a permanent fixture to help drought-proof the town.

And such provisions may well be required, with Orange hitherto relying solely on surface water run-off to rural catchments.

A statement on the drought issued Nov.5 by the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre (NCC) implied that drought-like conditions will become the norm rather than the exception as the effects of climate change take hold.

"The combination of record heat and widespread drought during the past five to ten years over large parts of southern and eastern Australia is without historical precedent and is, at least partly, a result of climate change," said the NCC.

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