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Monday, 3 January 2011

Australia under water?

Watching the news here, we note that a large chunk of Queensland is under water, the culprit apparently being a combination of the monsoon, La Nina and a tropical storm. This is reportedly the worst such event for fifty years to hit that area and the film footage we are seeing certainly makes that point.

One thing that struck me though, and I'd very much like to see town maps and plans for the area from 1960, is that the affected areas have been built up and over since then. I was also struck by the fact that older properties are built on stilts and they aren't standing in depresssions or next to the river. The newer properties aren't on stilts and they are much closer to the rivers and also in the low-lying areas. From this I would surmise that someone, somewhere, decided that Queensland's known annual flooding wasn't going to happen anymore...

Having been flooded out back in 1968 in the city of Port Elizabeth, I have every sympathy with those hit by this, but now, what needs to happen if it is to be avoided on the next cycle, is a thorough going review of the "environmental" practices that have contributed to this - such as not clearing gullies of encroaching bush, not enforcing the practical regulations for building on stilts which I understand were relaxed in the last ten years, and, finally, not maintaining the large watercourses in a 'navigable' condition. That means dredging them, clearing 'snags' which build sand and shingle banks, and maintaining the clear channels for drainage.

I won't hold my breath for any of that though - it's much easier to blame "Anthropomorphic Gobal Warming" and demand more swinging restrictions on transport (personal of course), travel and energy use. The ecologically minded out there won't be happy until they have everyone 'going walkabout' and living off the land as they imagine the Aboriginal peoples did...

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