Nov 072006
 

A one thousand year drought. That’s how the water summit held today in Canberra views the current dry in Australia.


The gabfest has been seen by some as yet another gibber-obsessed gathering where all pat each others tummy and wonder at the the swelling while a cure goes wanting for lack of intent. The simple matter of Queensland being deliberately over-looked for initial invitation does leave one to wonder. But is it a one-in-one-thousand-year drought?
There are many resources – the ABC’s being only one – but one in a thousand? The Bureau of Meteorology lists them all, but I seriously don’t think this one is any worse than any of those before. The difference between this one, and – say – the ’65-’86 drought is simply a perspective. I’d have to agree with Johnny that references to a one-in-a-one-thousand-year drought are simply hyperbole. Every drought is a bad drought to those most affected by it. What makes this one wose than those before it are the circumstances we find ourselves in. Where El Nino holds sway. Where water leases on our major river systems are admittedly over-let, and often, under-utilised. Where the gap between city and country appears to be broader than it might ordinarily be. Where the simple understanding of the climate systems which drive our weather seems to have vanished into the haze of politically created horizons opf wealth and prosperity.
John Howard decries the calls of a one-in-one-thousand-year-drought as being simple statements made on the day. Sure, he might well be right, but that’s no reason to automatically dismiss the attention such a call draws. Australia is in trouble. We live on an island continent which has, without any doubt and scientifically proven the driest climate on the face of the planet. Let’s forget, for a moment, about Kyoto Protocols and carbon trading. Let’s think about river systems which have knowingly been in trouble for twenty years. All the signs have been there for more time thatn the current government has been in power. Who’s really to blame? We are! We vote for the power-makers. We elect the legislators. We accept what they do AFTER they get into power on the back of promises they rarely keep, and all the while our country and environment degrades.
I don’t blame Little Johnny for dismissing the claims of a one-in-one-thousand-year-drought. He’s simply doing what those before him have done. Sought to remain in power at the expense of the nation.