a golf course with no grass

Golf clubs voluntarily ripping up their fairways, new housing developments without gardens, and water police patrolling the streets.

This is Las Vegas 2008 – see Matthew Price’s BBC drought diary here and read more about what other countries are doing to conserve water.

Meanwhile a South Australian Government official says the government has no plans to harvest stormwater. That revelation came on Wednesday afternoon – shortly afterwards a media report stated that the CSIRO’s chief water scientist, Dr Bill Young, had said there was enough water in New South Wales Menindee Lakes to release some to environmental flows. According to Dr Young this would have a “definately postive” impact on the dying lower lakes.

However, premier Mike Rann has stated he would be one day dubbed the most negligent premier in the state if he released storagres from Menindee Lakes for the environment. The water is needed for “critical human needs”.

I continue to wonder, during all these discussions, debates and pleas, if the mouth is left to die won’t the problems slowly travel up the river? A new pipeline has been recently approved to pump water from the River at Tailem Bend to Lower Lakes irrigators – will this pipeline have to continue to be moved up the river?

jms website

I have been designing the JMS website on and off over the past few days – it’s not completed yet but I would love to hear any comments.

Find it here.

the lighter side

Just before going to sleep last night I was ranting to my husband about over allocation of rivers worldwide (I’m sure he brought it up). He quickly broke through my rant with the following exchange:

Me: ….and it’s only because the states aren’t using their full allocations that it’s not an environmental disaster……do you know what an acre-foot is?

Him: “Yeah, it’s when you drop a heavy brick on your foot and you say “ahhh my aching foot”.

Me: Dissolves into laughter

Him: “I thought you needed a gigglelitre”

PS. For those who care – one million acre-feet of water is equivilant to 1233.5 gigalitres

colorado river report

The BBC’s Matthew Price is currently travelling along the Colorado River and reporting on its health and the views of the people who live near it. The first two diary entries can be found here.

The river has been in drought for eight years and, as mentioned in the report I posted yesterday, is hopelessly overallocated. It is only because the states are not using their full allocations that the river is still running to Mexico, just.

Nevada’s attempts to save water are admirable – the Southern Nevada Water Authority seems to realise that people living in a desert just cannot enjoy a lush green lawn etc. They even pass on the message with a bit of humour. It begs the question – why hasn’t the South Australian Government imposed stricter domestic watering restrictions?

a worldwide problem

The Nile, the Colorado River, the Ganges and the Yellow River – some of the largest rivers in the world are also the most susceptible to mismanagement and over allocation.

 

Irrigation is a historical practice – the Chinese have been irrigating since the third century BC and ancient Roman aqueducts that dot the European landscape are still used today.

 

However, rapid population growth and the need for greater food stocks at a global level has seen some of the world’s largest and most important river systems depleted to shadows of their former selves.

 

Read the full report here.

 

The news no one wanted to hear

The Murray Darling Basin Commission announced yesterday that the drought is getting worse. MDBC chief executive Wendy Craik said the news was “disappointing” and that the likelihood of upper Murray inflow being above average for the remainder of winter and spring is very low.

Dr Craik said the water level in the lower lakes has been temporarily stablised but highlighted that low inflows over the next 12 months would be devastating for the area.

Website design

Have been spending a lot of time discovering my inner website designer recently – editing and designing sites for a top local builder – Bennett Builders – and a local native fish rehabilitation project called Katfish Reach (site not quite ready for public viewing yet).