After many weeks with nary a drop and many more months of below average rainfall we’ve just had a few good days of rain in this neck of the woods (South Australia) and it looks as though we’ll get some more in the days ahead. It’s somewhat of a last minute reprieve for this section of the Murray River.
It’s amazing how nature reacts; prior to the rain you could just about hear the plants and trees screaming for moisture and even our hardy native trees in the area were showing signs of stress.
24 hours after the rain, I could already see grasses and (unfortunately) weeds breaking the ground. The local kangaroos are looking a lot happier and perhaps now they won’t need to visit our front yard so often. Our Australian long-neck turtles now also have more to swim in, in fact, they may be able to walk out of the pond entirely if we get more.
Whether this rain will prevent the government from switching off Murray River irrigation water to local farmers remains to be seen, but it’s come at a time where the farmers can now sow crops as the soil is still warm enough.
While this is good news, this has been a rain event – and it may be isolated, so it’s important we’re not all lulled into a false sense of security. Climate and weather are different beasts.
I firmly believe that much of Australia needs to be on water restrictions on an ongoing basis now, regardless of how much falls. Most of the climate models predict that we will see longer and more frequent droughts so as much water as possible needs to be able to soak into the ground to act as a reserve and to recharge aquifers.
The other problem with our landscape is salinity – and heavy rains can actually exacerbate the problem where salt is already an issue. Peter Andrews, the man behind Natural Sequence Farming explains this in some detail in his book – which is well worth a read regardless of if you’re a farmer or suburbanite. He really seems to have a good understanding of how this amazing land works and it’s a fascinating insight into water cycles in Australia.