Thursday, April 26, 2007

Towns May Be Evacuated Over Water Shortages

The "Armageddon Solution" To The Australian Mega-Drought

1800 Australians may be forcibly removed from their homes in two Queensland towns as councils and state governments consider increasingly drastic measures to cope with the worst drought in Australia's recorded history.

Disturbingly, Killarney, one of the towns that may be "evacuated", is situated near the source of the Murray-Darling river system : the essential water system that stretches through three Australian states and is now drying up, and has completely stopped flowing in dozens of locations.

Drinking water is being trucked into Killarney at a cost of $8000 a week, but the expense means this measure to keep the town alive may not last for long :

Senior state bureaucrats have discussed the possibility of moving residents from Leyburn, population 200, and Killarney, home to 1500 people.

Water Services Association executive director Ross Young said the Government had the power to move people.

"I'm not sure it has ever been used in Australia...The reality is with no water, you can't live anywhere for long."

Warwick Shire Mayor Ron Bellingham called evacuation an "Armageddon solution", but admitted it was a possibility for Leyburn.
If the drought doesn't break soon, which would require vast stretches of Australia to receive unprecedented and sustained rainfalls, the evacuation of towns that rely on bores and rivers for their fresh water will become a reality for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Australians in the years ahead.