Water

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More land than water: almond trees account for 10% of the state’s water reserves, according to some estimates. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

California’s water paradox: why enough will never be enough

California is blessed with so much agricultural land that no matter how much the state conserves or produces, there will also be an economic incentive to consume more water.
The Onkaparinga River, part of the catchment that supplies around half of Adelaide’s drinking water. Justin Ratcliff/Flickr

Adelaide is facing a dry future – it needs to start planning now

Imagine a future where the yearly flow into one of the largest water reservoirs of a major Australian city could halve within 70 years. This is a scenario that Adelaide could face if the world continues…
One Nation’s Pauline Hanson says landholders' constitutional water rights have been undermined by government changes – but is that true? AAP Image/Tertius Pickard

Could the Constitution protect farm water from coal seam gas?

The Australian Constitution says residents have the right to water from the rivers for irrigation and conservation purposes but governments have brought in laws that are restricting this – One Nation’s…
Shifting water around helped Rome’s rise – and fall. Dan McKay

What did the Romans ever do for us? They left a water warning

As all good Monty Python fans know, water technologies feature large in the legacy of benefits left by Roman civilisation. But while aqueducts, sewers and baths retain an obvious presence in the landscape…
Across California there are plenty of signs of just how dry it’s been, such as here in Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles. wasim muklashy/Flickr via CC BY-NC-SA

California’s severe drought shows why we need to raise the price of water

Last January, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency following projections of severe drought. State bureaucrats and local officials jumped into action and mandated any number of…
Australia won’t be building anything as big as the Gordon Dam any time soon. JJ Harrison/Wikimedia Commons

Dam hard: water storage is a historic headache for Australia

The agricultural green paper released last week proposes 27 new water and irrigation projects, which the government claims will be necessary for Australia’s agricultural expansion. The emphasis is firmly…
The Ord River dam, completed in 1971, formed Australia’s largest artificial lake in the far north west. Graeme Churchard/Flickr

Dams are not the smart way to secure water for agriculture

Some 27 irrigation and dam projects are highlighted in the green paper for agricultural competitiveness released this week by agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce. Six of the projects – five in Tasmania…
Warragamba Dam, supplying drinking water to over four million residents of Sydney.

Axing water overseer could leave regional Australia high and dry

Summer is coming and, with it, dry conditions for many parts of Australia. While it may be difficult to imagine for city dwellers, parts of regional Australia will likely face severe water shortages over…
The once-popular Loch McNess north of Perth has dried up almost completely after a decades-long dry period. ron_n_beth/Flickr

Saving water in a drying climate: lessons from south-west Australia

Since 1970, average rainfall in the south-west of Western Australia has decreased by nearly a fifth, and the science suggests that this is linked to human-caused climate change. Across Australia, CSIRO…

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