That Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth – well we all knew that didn’t we? What ‘dry’ means became abundantly clear after this September, as it was the driest September on record yet.
Whilst the blaring sun may be a confirmation of the imminent and enjoyable arrival of summer for some, it is fair to say that rain in sight is like a mirage for others. Those others predominantly being our farmers, who look after our land and ensure that we have fresh food and produce on our table.
The driest September on record is only the tip of the iceberg; a large part of Australia’s farmland in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia have been drought stricken and without rain for many, many months, and in some regions even years.
Whilst there has been some heavy – and indeed useful – concentrated rainfall recently, the weather system El Nino is looming. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in October indicated that there is a 70% likelihood of El Nino weather conditions on Australia’s south East Coast in the latter part of 2018 and beginning of 2019. This is an increased risk as any other year there is about 25% chance.
The likely occurrence of an El Nino means a continuation of warm and dry weather. El Nino usually occurs earlier in the year so BOM predicts that this El Nino, if it occurs, will be weaker compared to those that occur earlier in the year. However, there is no real correlation between a ‘weak’ El Nino and any potential impact it may have. In the past Australia has had weak El Ninos with wide spread drought all over Australia. This should be compared to some ‘strong’ El Ninos which have caused less than expected havoc and had less impact overall.
Weather systems are something we cannot control, unfortunately, even though the impact of the drought this year cannot be overstated. Whilst the weather predictions are rather dreary, looking from the bright side, there is in fact a 30% chance that El Nino will stay way well clear of our shores and – indisputably – eventually it will rain.
One thing that we are always in control of and even more so during a drought is our properties’ rain water tanks. The drier periods are the time when we should prepare for rain and evaluate if our current water tank capacities to meet our domestic and rural water needs – do the current rainwater tanks have enough water storage or do we need to upgrade? Tank maintenance is another important element, regular rain water tank maintenance ensure that the water tank is clean, well-functioning and ready to do exactly what it is made to do – store rain water.