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Wet 2010 just a blip according to ACTEW

By johnboy - 7 January 2011 22

The Canberra Times has been having a chat with ACTEW’s Mark Sullivan about water and infrastructure investment.

Actew managing director Mark Sullivan said once the rains stopped predicted to be in February or March the territory would again have to face at least 20 years of low rainfall.

Although the rains offered breathing space, Actew says there is no reason to doubt scientific predictions of another two dry decades.

On the one hand they have to work from something, on the other hand does anyone really think these long term weather forecasts are worth the paper they’re written on?

What’s Your opinion?

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22 Responses to
Wet 2010 just a blip according to ACTEW
Chief Ten Beers 7:26 pm 07 Jan 11

@11 Thanks, I know the difference between Climate and Weather. I was, however, illustrating how some of the so called experts believed we would be out of water in 2011. This is clearly no the case.

By the way, I’m interested to see how you think Australia is improving it’s water infrastructure. I’m aware of a few upgrades but can you name one damn this country has built in the last 25 years?

Holden Caulfield 2:45 pm 07 Jan 11

@13: Dorothea Mackellar in the early 1900s acutally; guy, girl, same shit.

Chop71 2:22 pm 07 Jan 11

almost 40 years ago I was taught a poem in skool… it went something like this

I love a sunburnt country
a land of sweeping plains
of rugged mountain ranges
of droughts and flooding rains

and I think it was writtem buy a guy 100 years before that….

oh yeah and then global warming came along and I don’t think they teach it on skool anymore

Lazy I 2:13 pm 07 Jan 11

But I sure as hell feel better that our water infrastructure is being designed for the worse case scenario, and not the other way round.

It is? I thought it was being designed to maximize profit.. driving up fear of supply shortages definitely helps you charge a higher premium.

amarooresident3 1:53 pm 07 Jan 11


I think you are confusing “climate” and “weather”. The climate can become drier (and appears to be) but that does not exclude unusual rainfall from time to time.

And how can you object to planning for a drier future? If it doesn’t happen, awesome, water for everyone. But I sure as hell feel better that our water infrastructure is being designed for the worse case scenario, and not the other way round.

Chief Ten Beers 1:29 pm 07 Jan 11

For example “Australian of the Year” Tim Flannery. circa 2007.

“Over the past 50 years southern Australia has lost about 20 per cent of its rainfall, and one cause is almost certainly global warming….Desalination plants can provide insurance against drought. In Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, water supplies are so low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months.”

Three years later and it Australia’s third wettest year on record. From July to December it was the wettest ever recorded in Austrlia.


DROUGHT will become a redundant term as Australia plans for a permanently drier future, according to the nation’s urban water industries chief…

”The urban water industry has decided the inflows of the past will never return,” Water Services Association of Australia executive director Ross Young said. “We are trying to avoid the term ‘drought’ and saying this is the new reality.”… Mr Young blamed climate change for the nation’s water woes.

Not to mention all their “expert” Climate modelling cannot even predict what has happened in the past let alone 20 years from now.

georgesgenitals 1:04 pm 07 Jan 11

How about we come back to earth and recognise that our climate is typically one of lesser rainfall for extended periods, followed by short periods of wet, and plan our water collection and usage accordingly.

chewy14 12:47 pm 07 Jan 11

Chief Ten Beers,
where are these “Expert” predictions?
The most i’ve read is scientists saying that droughts will become more frequent and severe in the future thus leading to greater and more frequent water shortages.

Chief Ten Beers 12:23 pm 07 Jan 11

It was only ten years ago these so called “experts” were yelling at us that Queensland would by dry and entire states would be running out of water.

trix 12:22 pm 07 Jan 11

There’s a little thing called climate change, and the fact that the average temps have shifted so much already, that La Nina weather will become increasingly rare – and already has. It used to oscillate every 2-3 years, and now the intervals are much longer around the Pacific. More info on the BOM site.

amarooresident3 12:18 pm 07 Jan 11

It seems perfectly sensible to me to plan for a dry future based on forecasts from the premier scientific research body in this country. If it does rain all well and good. But experience over the last 15 years would suggest that we can’t rely on regular and predictable rainfall.

I honestly can’t see why anyone would have a problem with this approach, no matter what your views are on climate science.

Spectra 11:53 am 07 Jan 11

I’m sorry, but where is Mr Sullivan getting this information that the next 20 years will be low rainfall?

utterly ridiculous!

CSIRO (if you’d bothered to glance at the article, you’d know that). Where do you get the information that it’s utterly ridiculous?

neanderthalsis 11:51 am 07 Jan 11

The La Nina weather pattern comes along every five years or so on average, and that every La Nina event previously has brought either on average or above average rainfall for the ACT. There is no indication from reliable and informed sources that this is likely to change. I think he has spent too long listening to the “we’ll all be rooned” set of climate alarmists and is looking for a cheap headline.

Chaz 11:24 am 07 Jan 11

I’m sorry, but where is Mr Sullivan getting this information that the next 20 years will be low rainfall?

utterly ridiculous!

caf 10:54 am 07 Jan 11

Long run averages tend to be easier to get right than the short term. I can’t tell you how you’re going to go playing the pokies tonight; but I can give a pretty good estimate of how you’ll go over the whole year if you play them every day.

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