Saturday, 1 August 2009

the big dry

Melbourne is now in its 13th year of drought.  In Oregon, a 'drought' was to have one summer without much rain, I had no idea what it was like to live somewhere droughts last for over a decade.  But Melbourne's drought has put our reservoirs at 27% and we've been under water restrictions for years.  No watering the lawn, no hosing the pavement, and you're only meant to water your garden twice a week before 9am.

The average rainfall for Melbourne is meant to be around 650mm (25 inches).  In contrast, Portland's annual rainfall is 950mm (37 inches).  But to give you an idea of how bad it's been, the first six months of this year Melbourne only got 150mm of rain.  6 inches.  That's it.  That's less than any other Australian capital city, including places like Perth and Adelaide that are traditionally more arid.  Oh and did I mention we're heading into an El Nino year?  For Australia that means more drought.  I'm just hoping we don't go to stage 4 restrictions this year, where you're not allowed to water your garden at all.

The government is building a big desalination plant, but it won't be online for another 2 years.  In the meantime, we watch the skies and hope for rain.


Mrs. Phillips said...

Yuck. I think we're getting your rain--we've had nonstop storms the last two weeks. Very odd for us.