Australia: One Extreme to Another

If it doesn’t rain by tomorrow morning, and it’s your not looking like it’s going to, Brisbane will have recorded its driest start to November on record. The record it will beat is 18 days without rain in November of 1915.

Apparently it was also quite dry back in 1842, but as Weather Channel meteorologist Dick Whitaker said “….but we tend to disregard those old records because we don’t think they were taken regularly, which makes them a bit dodgy.

Exactly one year ago, Brisbane and most of Queensland was being pounded with rain on an almost daily basis, culminating in those floods in January.

What a difference a year makes!

A lot of blame for those floods was levelled at the operators of Wivenhoe Dam for the way they managed, or mismanaged, depending how you looked at it, the release of water to allow a greater capacity for flood mitigation.

There was a big enquiry; this short video will let you know how that went, and also act as a reminder of just how wet it was here less than one year ago.

But now, as I said, the weather is dry, very dry. My grass is already turning brown. But this dry weather is not going to continue, if the ‘experts’ have got it right.

The weather bureau have predicted another wet and wild summer and they have recommended the release of water from Wivenhoe Dam to bring levels down to 75%.

Today, that release begins, rather controversially….

I was one of those who didn’t much care for the way the operators of the dam carried out their business, and I don’t think I’m much keen on what they are doing now either. It seems to me that, like the weather, they have also lurched from one extreme to the other.

But what do I know? Well, I know I’d rather this summer were hot, sunny with clear blue skies and NOT wet and wild.

We will see.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Shaun November 23, 2011, 7:49 am |

    No worries there-I am not a lawsuit type person. Seems to me things in Oz work a lot differently than over here. If that happened here, there would be lawsuits-a-plenty, regardless of fault admissions.

    That, to me, shows a very respectful populace in the Brisbane area. Residents just rolled up their sleeves and fixed what needed fixed. The people seem to have a higher integrity than here-just a community I would like to be a part of.

    • BobinOz November 23, 2011, 10:26 pm |

      I think there are a few lawsuits flying around, but not as many as there might have been in another country. I don’t think Australia’s really big on the sue you culture.

      It’ll come though, I suspect.

      Australians do roll up their sleeves and get on with it in a disaster though, that’s for sure.

  • Shaun November 20, 2011, 11:48 pm |

    Hello Bob, I just joined your blog and I have to say, it is very entertaining and informative while staying quite clean and non-offensive. I truly thank you for that! I am considering moving to Oz from the USA, and that is something you don’t get over on this side of the pond. Anyways, in response to this Wivenhoe Dam business, it just smells of mis-management all the way around. Short of having any other information, I think that the person in charge should do one of two things: step down, or start listening to the people who are affected by a large-scale dam release. There seems to be a pride issue going on there, and that is not a good way to conduct business, especially when it can potentially cause that much damage. Doing a realease in the middle of a water shortage with levels about 80%? Even from over here, that seems like a bad idea. Keep up the wonderful work here!

    • BobinOz November 22, 2011, 2:29 pm |

      Hi Shaun

      Yes, I regard this as a family blog so I like to keep it clean. Any comments that don’t follow suit get deleted. Thanks for the thumbs up on that one.

      Stepping down would have been the honourable thing, but would also have been an admission of guilt. If they admit guilt, people are gone start to be asking them for money to repair the damage to their homes.

      So it was never going to happen, too much at stake. That’s if they got it wrong, of course, which we don’t know for sure. (AKA please don’t sue me for my remarks, I’ve got no money).

  • Sean November 18, 2011, 8:51 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    Do you get hose pipe bans over in Oz? Seems as soon as we have a few extra weeks of hot weather in the UK the water companies start panicking about supply (probably as a result of the amount of leaks throughout the system!)

    • Johanna November 20, 2011, 2:14 am |

      Haha, I hear ya, Sean!

      Having grown up in Perth and now (reluctantly) living in UK, it always amuses me when the panic of a water shortage emerges here. I remember what real dry weather looks and feels like … I want to say”….this ain’t it !! ”

      Bob, everything is crossed for a good ole, sunny, water-abundant fun summer for you all !

      :o) Johanna

      • BobinOz November 22, 2011, 2:18 pm |

        Sean, yes, we have some funny sort of arrangement here in Brisbane, we can water the lawns between four o’clock and five o’clock on alternative Tuesdays, or something like that!

        I’m really not sure what the law is, because I, like many others, have a water storage tank that catches everything off of the roof. If I need to hose something, I get my water from there.

        Johanna, as long as there’s a fairly healthy dose of “sunny” within our water abundant summer, I’ll be happy 🙂

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