Australia today = U.S. southwest by 2050

drybed-small.jpgThe brutal drought has ended over large parts of Australia — and consumers are obsessively reducing their demand for water — and yet water “prices are set to double in the next five to 10 years,” Water Services Association Australia executive officer Ross Young told a drought briefing in Canberra.

The focus on water conservation has never been higher:

Water is a dinner table topic. People are quite passionate about water and they are quite concerned about water in the context of climate change.

And the results are impressive:

Average daily summer water use in Melbourne during the 1990s was 1,631 litres, compared with 1,092 litres at the end of last month.

But doubled prices are still inevitable in the coming years, “as the industry funds the significant capital works programs – some $30 billion over the next five to 10 years just in new water sources for urban Australia.”

Since scientists tell us we’re turning the west into a desert, much greater water conservation, tens of billions of dollars on water infrastructure, and much higher water prices are also inevitable there.

14 Responses to Australia today = U.S. southwest by 2050

  1. Beefeater says:

    Since scientists tell us we’re turning the west into a desert, much greater water conservation, tens of billions of dollars on water infrastructure, and much higher water prices are also inevitable there.

    How can we be turning the west into a desert? It already was a desert, has been for thousands of years!

    We already invest millions in conservation and infrastructure here in Arizona. For example people point to the golf courses and artificial lakes we build as an example of “wasting” water. Almost 100% of the water used for those purposes is “reclaimed”. Did you know that when you turn off the faucet that the water doesn’t just disappear? It’s not a use it once and it’s gone situation. The “lake ” in my subdivision is actually a planned “detention” pond, with it’s size determined by the area of pavement and roofs, to handle storm runoff. Where I live now was once water intensive cotton and corn fields, we use less water now than the farmers did. I could write a book, it probably has already been done.

    Once again the “alarmist” probably hasn’t really done his research, except maybe to support his own theory.

    That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be aware of the needs, but to proclaim that we are turning the desert into a desert smacks of alarmism.

  2. Joe says:

    Beefeater — you REALLY need to read the links before you post — especially this one: Australia faces the “permanent dry” — as do we.

    This is what is coming if we don’t reverse emissions trends ASAP:

    In April, Science published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” — levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California.

    Sorry if that is alarming. Science sometimes is.

  3. Beefeater says:

    In April, Science published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” — levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California.

    What you’re saying is that the “predictions” forcast that we could return to conditions that have occurred in the past, the 30’s, and could happen again. Of course they could happen again! Not just could but will. Happened in the 50′ and 60’s also. Studies by scientists taught farmers land conservation practices that staved off a “dust bowl” again. Real scientists with real world practical solutions. At least you realize that nothing that happens now or in the future is unprecedented.

  4. John L. McCormick says:

    Joe, you have to accept that Beefeater is riding a merry-go-round. He sees life and the world as a long replay…..everything you say will happen he says it has happened before.

    He cannot seem to factor in the rapid advance of warming and the now-6.5 billion people standing in the way.

    Libertarians must live charmed lives becasue there are no suprrises for them…only the assurance that whatever comes their way happened before so why try to —godforbid— regulate its avoidance.

    Their creed is utterly simple and self-serving…..LEAVE ME ALONE.

    John McCormick

  5. Peter Foley says:

    I thought Higher temps = greater vapor pressure = more evaporation= more rainfall. Have we crossed in to a new dimension with new rules? Most likely higher Ocean temps would lead to more rain in Australia. All other things remaining the same.

  6. David B. Benson says:

    Peter Foley — Yes, but the non-tropical boundary of the Hadley cells also matters. And for that matter, just where the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone) migrates to.

    Rather to my surprise, the ITCZ has been moving further north during the northern hemisphere summer. This leads to drought in southwestern and also southeastern U.S. This also is causing the Amazon basin to revert to savanna, strarting in the southern portions.

  7. Joe says:

    You guys need to read the links — global warming drives the tropics and subtropics (=deserts) to expand, faster than the models projected, as it turns out.

  8. David B. Benson says:

    Joe — I was surprised that the ITCZ has been moving further north recently, since the last time this occured was around 40–30 kya, moving towards LGM. At that time the Amazon basin was mostly savanna, with aeolian sand dunes near the coast, and massive occasional floods.

    So I am a bit surprised to see essentially the same predictions for the Amazon basin in the face of global warming. But I suppose it shows just how complex the climate actually is…

  9. Ronald says:


    You wrote that ‘nothing that happens now or in the future is unprecedented.’

    What is being written about is climate change. What is to come in the future is unprecedented to modern day humans.

    You are assuming that the dessert that you have now is the dessert you will have in the future. Isn’t the Death Valley desert worse than other desserts? Can’t temperatures get higher in the dessert than it is now? Can’t it get drier in the dessert than it is now?

    You write that desserts are nothing new, we live in them now. But how many live in the Sahara dessert, which is mostly sand from one end to another.

    Climate change means just that, that desserts that are hot and dry can become hotter and dryer.

    You lack the imagination to understand the problem. The imagination I’m writing about is not some fantasy made up impossible world, but what the science is indicating can reasonably happen. The world we leave to future generations can be changed by what we do and not necessarily for the better.

  10. Ronald says:

    Peter Foley,

    Warmer temperature can lead to more droughts, but also more rain and thus more flooding.
    Evaporation will increase with a warmer atmosphere and ground and water temps. The atmosphere will be able to hold more water so when it does rain, more can drop from the sky.

    So supposedly we will have both more drought and more flooding.

  11. Peter Foley says:

    Which is it? Death by flood or Death by Drought? It reminds me of the classic joke about the three missionaries in the darkest heart of Africa, captured by the Kawabunga tribe of vicious predatory sodomites, They were offered a choice between, Ceech(multiple sodomy) or Death, the punch line was when the final priest chose death instead of ceech, it was death BY ceech. But seriously if the model can predict temperature can’t it point to rain fall trends like the Nuke winter rehash did? The AGWers don’t want the likely hood that if correct the climate will actually improve over the majority of the planet for the majority of people to become common Knowledge to prevent schisms in the community. We are at the Are there WMDs? stage of the of AGW “war”. Right now for 900$/an acre foot(320,000gallons) we can turn Sea water into potable water.

  12. David B. Benson says:

    Peter Foley — IPCC AR4 clearly states that current GCMs are not good at predicting precipitation patterns and that regional models are required to make longer range forecasts of precipitation. Unfortunately, the climate modelers are stating that progress on such models proceeds at a snail’s pace…

  13. Donald B says:

    The book “Is the Temperature Rising? The Uncertain Science of Global Warming” by S. George Philander presents the physics of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans in a neutral way and is in at least its fifth printing. In the section on the earth’s energy budget, it shows that the sun’s radiation evaporates, annually, about a meter of water over the surface of the earth. Therefore, if the earth had no land, a meter of water would fall (after evaporating) on each bit of the ocean. The land areas mess this up, naturally and some land areas get much more (Kauai’s mountain peak) and others much less. Some land areas have rainy seasons and dry seasons. If you got all your rain (20″ say) in a couple of consecutive weeks and none for the rest of the year, you would experience floods and droughts at the same location over a year period. If the amount of water evaporated (which GW predicts will) increases, the floods will increase.

  14. Anthony, rabid doomsayer says:

    There is a world of difference between a drought that lasts a few years and one that is expected to last for the foreseeable future ie permanently.

    The mega drought is here and will only be broken by floods only to immediately return to drought. That is the future we are facing.

    What is now considered normal rainfall will become a rare event. We are entering a world of extremes.