Being a semi-arid continent, drought
has always been a serious concern in Australia. Several
remarkable droughts have been recorded over the last three
centuries, which left the Australian citizens at the time
stricken and even hungry.
Severe droughts in Australia
caused lakes and rivers to dry, crops to fail and
grasslands for pastures to wither, livestock to
dwindle in number.
All of which, eventually caused
serious food shortage.
Major droughts recorded in the 19th century were the
years 1803, 1809, 1811, 1813, 1814, 1815, 1826,
1827, 1828, 1829, 1835, 1838, 1839, 1846, 1849,
1850, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1868, 1877, 1880, 1881-1886,
These recorded droughts are spread over
several states of Australia and on different levels
or severity. It is interesting to take note that
some lasted several years and one could just imagine
the hardships that the Australian people experienced
during these times.
20th century droughts include the years, 1902, 1911, 1912,
1913, 1914, 1915, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1925, 1937 to 1947,
1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1964, 1965, 1982, 1983, 1991, 1992,
1993, 1994, and 1995.
One would notice the decade long
drought, which lasted from 1937 to 1947.
This was during the World War II with the eastern
part of Australia experiencing hot dry spells all
through those ten years.
worst in this century list is the one that occurred
from 1982 to 1983.
time, a lot of people actually died because of the
A total of 75 people were killed in
ruthless bushfires on February 1983 in the Southeast
The extreme heat of the drought caused
bushfires and dust storms in some areas of
Drought problems in Australia continued up the 21st
century. The year 2003 started yet another long and
harsh drought that was to be the worst in the
Rainfall, which is usually expected at the last
quarter of the year, fell short in 2006. The dry spell
continued on to 2007.
As a result of these long dry spells
and water shortage, the Australian government started
imposing stricter laws on water conservation. Stern
regulations were enforced on factories and industries that
use a lot of water in their production.
Recycling programs were also
implemented such as the grey-water recycling. People were
encouraged to install water tanks in their homes.
Another concern, which arises from the perennial drought
problem, is the danger of overpopulation. At the rate the
population growth is going right now, comes the threat of
worse water shortage.
Environmental groups are worried that
if the current population growth rate continues, Australia
would no longer be able to sustain the quality of life that
it affords its citizens.