Australia's Water Resources: From Use to Management by John Pigram

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By John Pigram

Australia s Water assets seeks to discover the conditions underpinning the profound reorientation of attitudes and relationships to water that has taken position in Australia in contemporary a long time. The altering emphasis from improvement to administration of water assets keeps to adapt and is mirrored in a chain of public coverage projects directed in the direction of rational, effective and sustainable use of the nation's water. Australia is now recognized as a leader in water reform. Administrative restructuring, water pricing, water markets and alternate, built-in water assets administration, and the emergence of the personal quarter, are positive aspects of a extra economically sound and environmentally appropriate water undefined. it is necessary that those adjustments are documented and their cause and effectiveness defined. This well timed paintings offers a huge synthesis of those matters. This revised paperback variation is a completely corrected reprint which has additionally been up to date to take account of the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as Minister for the surroundings and Water assets, and the Commonwealth Government's initiative about the administration of the Murray Darling Basin.

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1). Not only is precipitation appreciably less, the percentage of rainfall that is yielded as stream flow after evaporation and transpiration is low. Moreover, the area of the continent subject to snowfall, and, hence, the contribution of snowmelt to surface run-off, is minimal by world standards. The mean figures used to describe Australia’s water resources are misleading because of marked irregularities in space and time in the availability of water. Erratic rainfalls – long periods of drought interspersed with shorter spells of excessive precipitation and disastrous flooding – are typical of a climate which is demanding on those people whose livelihoods are linked to a dependable water supply.

The extent to which a rural producer is able to withstand and recover from a drought depends upon several interrelated factors. These include the length, severity and frequency of drought, current farm enterprises, the level of available financial, fodder and water reserves and the level of outside assistance available. indd 30 23/8/06 3:16:42 PM Australia’s water resources – wet and dry 

1 Australia: variability of average annual rainfall. Source: Leeper, 1970, p. 2 Annual runoff (mm) 600 EUROPE 800 AUSTRALIA 1000 ASIA 1200 AFRICA Annual precipitation (mm) 1400 Rainfall and run-off of the continents. Source: Brown, 1983, p. 10 below. Five months of effective rainfall is generally accepted as the minimum period for growing short-season annual crops, such as wheat, and for annual pastures. However, the term ‘growing season’ is an over-simplification in that months of so-called effective precipitation are not always consecutive, and other factors, such as soil characteristics, terrain and isolation from markets, can inhibit agriculture.

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