Perth: The World's First Ghost City?

A desert metropolis of suburbs nearing the two million residents mark, Perth is quickly draining its underground aquifers to keep its gardens green.

"The Australian of the year 2007, environmentalist Tim Flannery, once predicted that Perth in Western Australia could become the world's first ghost metropolis, its population forced to abandon the city due to lack of water."

"And, ironically, although it's a desert climate, Perth prides itself on being a garden city, boasting vast expanses of beautifully kept lawns and parks complete with water hungry plants and flowers."

"There is a joke doing the rounds that goes: the good news is we'll all soon be drinking recycled sewage. The bad news is there will not be enough to go round. These may be desperate times for Perth's water supply, but the city is in the fortunate position of being fairly wealthy with a government that is prepared to invest in expensive water projects. The latest is a state of the art desalination plant that came online last November and will supply 17% of the city's drinking water."

Full Story: Metropolis strives to meet its thirst



Alarmism isn't going to help us deal with global warming

Perth Airport gets 869 millimeters of rain yearly. That's 86.9 centimeters, or about 34 inches. About the smae as Portland and Seattle. Yet the article states that Perth has "a desert climate." Well, much of Western Australia is a desert, but Perth isn't. Even with lower rainfall due to global warming or whatever, Perth is still not a desert.

Next, before Perth runs out of water it will undoubtedly start conserving it better than it is doing currently. Also, it is adjacent to the largest (if expensive) water source in the world, the ocean. If Perth's residents are willing to pay for it, they will have water.

This article is in the same alarmist tone as a recent prediction in the Portland Oregonian about a new "dust bowl" migration of millions of Californians to Oregon. Global warming has undoubtedly serious consequences, but alarmism isn't the answer - when the prediction invariably doesn't come true, the real problems with global warming will be discredited.

In defence of my hometown

I am a long term resident of Perth and I do think that the news item was alarmist.

Yes this is a water wasteful city. This is because water has been “as cheap as water”

The water delivered to my house is very cheap as far as a service goes, and has been supplemented by abundant ground water – Perth sits on a wide sandy coastal plain that is soaked in water (like a sponge).

This apparent abundance of free and cheap water has created a wasteful culture. But the culture has changed, we have had no choice. Along with our eastern states cousins all Australians have the challenge of water resource depletion. Many government water conservation projects and water saving programmes have reduced water use. As a household in Perth I live with rostered watering days, dual flush toilets and water wise appliances. The average Australian is more than able to boast their savings of water (and cost to the environment) at BBQ’s and parties. Yet, we live in a city where for the first time some of our iconic lakes dried up. No sane person that lives in this city can dispute that climate change is real – we are living the nightmare. But understand that as a city we will not sit idly by and watch our special place die. Perth residents are innovative, are changing & will manage this change.
Indeed we are thriving.

Perth does have water problems but we do have the dedication to overcome shortages and thrive in circumstances beyond our control. We may even lead the nation in innovation and change.

The reports of the death of Perth are premature – were here to stay!

Note: the illusion that we are living in a desert comes from the fact that our abundant rainfall only falls over a 4 month period (on average) the rest of the time is fine and hot.

Im from Perth. - not at the end of the earth but you can see the end from here!

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