Water Worries In Australia

<p>Severe water shortages have hit Australia in recent years, and they are showing no signs of subsiding. The government has cracked down on waste, but many scientists say that global warming is the underlying cause of the shortage.</p>
April 6, 2007, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Australia, already the driest inhabited continent on the planet, is in the grip of its worst-ever drought."

"The water crisis is no longer about desperate farmers in the Outback watching their sheep and cattle perish. Over the past six years, it has extended its grip to the cities and is changing the way Australians regard a resource they once took for granted."

"Data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology show that, since 1970, rainfall has increased in the barely developed northwestern corner of the continent. But it has decreased in the densely populated east and southeast, the areas where it matters most."

"Australians are increasingly bombarded with pleas to conserve their most precious resource. Last October a major electricity supplier asked people to refrain from singing, daydreaming, and engaging in other 'nonessential activities' in the shower to save power and water. . Exhortations range from installing a rainwater tank in the backyard to eating less meat, on the grounds that rearing livestock requires far more water than growing crops."

"Under Sydney's strict water-conservation measures, introduced in 2003, cars must not be washed with hoses, only buckets. Watering lawns and gardens with hoses or drip-irrigation systems is allowed on two days a week. A special permit is required to fill a swimming pool. Breaking any of these rules incurs a spot fine of A$220 (US$178) for householders and A$500 for businesses."

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Published on Thursday, April 5, 2007 in The Christian Science Monitor
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