The Brisbane Times has a report on dire predictions of a resurgent El Nino effect and athe Australian drought continuing on forevermore - Experts warn of never-ending drought.
There is no end in sight to the drought afflicting the Murray-Darling Basin and the big dry could become a permanent feature of eastern Australia, experts warn. The latest Murray System Drought Update contains nothing but bad news for farmers and communities struggling to cope.
Even grimmer news is that it could become worse next year. Meteorologists have warned another dreaded El Nino weather pattern - which brings dry weather to eastern Australia - could be on the way.
Dr Wendy Craik, chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission which oversees the nation's major food bowl, painted an ominous picture of the situation as she delivered the update. "Unfortunately there is no improvement in sight," she said today. "The prognosis for the future's not good." "Is this (drought) a permanent phase? Well, clearly we need to plan in case it is."
The basin covers much of eastern Australia, stretching from southern Queensland through NSW and Victoria and into South Australia.
For the first time in recorded history, the water level of some inland lakes had plunged below sea levels, Dr Craik said. South Australia's lower lakes were deteriorating particularly quickly.
There was growing evidence that the low rainfall and inflows into the rivers were linked to climate change, the drought update says. Dr Craik says the drought is so bad in some parts of the basin that it has surpassed the worst climate change predictions for 2055. "It's come across us a lot more quickly than we anticipated," she said.
The basin would have enough water to supply crucial human demand until the end of the year. But Dr Craik avoided saying how long the basin could hold out if the bleak forecast proved correct. There could be zero or very low water allocations for irrigators this year.