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Dangerous summer: escalating bushfire, heat and drought risk

Source(s):  Climate Council of Australia

Eastern Australia is currently gripped by a prolonged and devastating drought, with no relief in sight. Parts of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland are currently experiencing their driest conditions on record over certain time periods. Some of the largest rainfall deficiencies have occurred in the Macquarie, Namoi–Peel, and Border Rivers catchments. Murrurundi in the Upper Hunter in New South Wales has run out of water and more than a dozen large New South Wales towns have dwindling water supplies.

Major regional centres such as Dubbo, Tamworth and Orange are currently facing severe water shortages. Dubbo’s Burrendong Dam, fed by the Macquarie River, is currently at 3 percent of its storage capacity, and water levels are still falling. At current usage rates and without significant rainfall, the Burrendong Dam is likely to run out of water in May 2020, after which time the town will rely predominantly on bore water. Dubbo has just introduced Level 4 water restrictions in November and the council is investigating options such as drilling new bores, using recycled water, and stormwater harvesting.

The severity of future extreme weather events in Australia depends on how fast and deeply greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced, here in Australia and around the world.

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  • Dangerous summer: escalating bushfire, heat and drought risk
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Steffen, Will; Hughes, Lesley; Mullins, Greg et al.
  • Number of pages 38 p.
  • ISBN/ISSN 978-0-6486793-9-4 (ISBN)

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