Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Australia's most populous state entirely in drought

David Gray  Reuters Australia's most populous state New South Wales is now 100% in drought- a property on the outskirts of Walgett David Gray Reuters Australia's most populous state New South Wales is now 100% in drought- a property on the outskirts of Walgett
Patty Aguilar | 10 August, 2018, 20:53

Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), is now entirely in drought, officials have confirmed.

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The state government said today that the entire 309,000 sq m state was affected, with 23 per cent of it suffering from "intense drought".

A drier-than-expected June and July has left many farmers with failing crops, a short supply of water and diminishing livestock feed.

"This is tough. There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities", Blair said in a statement.

The Bureau of Meteorology's outlook for the next few months shows below-average rainfall and hotter temperatures than normal, which will likely exacerbate the drought.

"Producers are now faced with some very hard decisions on whether to graze sown crops or rely on potential rainfall in the next two months in order to increase yield production".

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Though Australia has long suffered from spells of drought, other parts of the world are now experiencing extreme weather which experts say is evidence of the Earth's changing climate.

According to news.com.au, some regions have tightened their water restrictions to the point of limiting the residents to a maximum of two loads of washing per week and three-minute showers.

Farm reservoirs have dried up and crops are failing.

The authorities have provided about £330m in emergency relief funding as... Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull toured some drought-stricken communities on Sunday, announcing $12,000 grants for each affected farming family.

No, the so-called millennium drought of 1997-2005 is often cited as the most devastating - it ravaged nearly 50 per cent of Australia's agricultural land. "It's a very volatile and often capricious climate, and Australian farmers are resilient".

But the problem is not confined to NSW - more than half of neighbouring Queensland is in drought.

The drought may be Australia's worst in 400 years, according to a recent University of Melbourne study, which reconstructed 800 years of seasonal patterns.

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