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Showing posts with the label dams

Book review: Running Down: Water in a changing land by Mary E White

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Genre: Nonfiction Published: 2000 Date read: March 2018 This book explores the evolution of Australia’s river systems and how they have changed since European settlement. The book is packed full of wonderful photographs, maps, diagrams, and anecdotes, and a sobering message. White doesn’t paint a very optimistic picture. Our farming practices have created immense damage that most of us are not even aware of, since what we see now is what we assume was always there. There’s a truly awful story told by an old farmer from the Riverina. He describes how, on the advice of the Department of Agriculture of the time, they kept their land plowed and fallow. One heavy storm later, and most of their topsoil flowed into local rivers and creeks, filling them to the brim with mud and killing all the fish and other wildlife within. None of those rivers or creeks ever recovered to their previous condition, and neither did the farms. A tragedy. Publication of this book was sponsored by a g

Weather: entertainment or information?

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I’ve spent a lot of time looking at weather maps recently as the big wet has flooded inland Australia week after week. There’s a lot to choose from. I can see maps showing warnings, lists of rivers that are going to flood, and any number of seven day forecasts. I can’t see my own town’s weather in real time because we are too small to warrant an automated weather station. In fact, some days, the temperature and rainfall measurements never appear at all. I guess whoever does the work couldn’t make it over to the airport that day. There are monitors in the creek upstream where heavy falls are most likely to cause flash flooding through the town, but these aren’t integrated in any meaningful way into our forecasts. Monitoring Muttama Creek What people seem to want are pretty satellite graphics that show clouds moving in stately circles from west to east. These are fairly useless. In the old days on TV (yeah, it was black and white, since you ask) we always got what was cal