When the taps run dryThe 'loss and devastation' of a relentless drought captured from space - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)For ...

When the taps run dryThe 'loss and devastation' of a relentless drought captured from space - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)For ...When the taps run dry

The 'loss and devastation' of a relentless drought captured from space - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
For three years, Kate Hook watched as the only source of water for her and her kids slowly vanished.

The dam in her backyard, on the outskirts of Orange in central New South Wales, went from overflowing into her neighbour’s property, to a puddle so small she could jump over it.

The family cut shower times to 30 seconds, they recycled water as much as possible and taps were never ever left running.

Orange local Kate Hook
Kate Hook's property on the outskirts of Orange is completely reliant on rainwater. ABC News: Jack Fisher
But they couldn’t escape the sickening feeling of running dry.

“On three occasions, actually, we’ve completely run out of water here. So you turn on the tap, nothing comes out. It’s a really scary feeling,” she said.

The water wasn’t just drying up on Kate’s property, it was disappearing right across large parts of south-eastern Australia.

The 2017 to 2019 period was the hottest and driest three-year stretch ever recorded for the Murray-Darling Basin. As a result water storages dwindled and the zero-day clock — the time given before a town runs dry — began ticking.

It was a level of water stress that many people in these towns had never before experienced.

“I just don’t know what adjectives to use when the crisis just goes on and on and on and on,” said Ian Wright, a water expert at the University of Western Sydney.

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“It was just an extraordinary sense of loss and devastation really, for jobs, for the economy and for people’s mental health, all triggered by a lack of water.”

While many places have started to recover after a relatively wet 2020, this dry period highlighted just how vulnerable some of these communities were to climate change.

Climate modelling shows that southern Australia is becoming drier and hotter, bringing with it more frequent and severe droughts.

But experts like Dr Wright fear that with the arrival of some rain, many have already started to forget just how dire the situation was. He believes we need to be more prepared for the challenges to water security that these changing conditions will bring in the future.
SOURCE: https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-29/relentless-drought-captured-from-space/12753788?nw=0&pfmredir=sm