Climate change report finds droughts conditions to continue

Producers in central west NSW will experience a tough couple of decades of dry conditions, with a report revealing severe droughts are expected to become more frequent.
Climate change is making drought worse, Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen said.
“With the momentum of past emissions we can’t stop these trends, they’ll continue for a couple of decades.
So you’re looking at continuing drier than normal conditions in southern Australia out to about 2040 or so,” Professor Steffen said.
In the central west, 85 per cent of the region was in drought, while 7 per cent was in intense drought and 8 per cent was drought affected.
The report found transitioning electricity systems to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which have minimal water requirements, can reduce overall water consumption, as well as reducing the risks to electricity generation associated with droughts, heatwaves and flooding.
“So you have a double whammy there, that you’ve got a long term effect of climate change making droughts worse and when you do get the natural variability like an El Nino that just makes it even worse.. the immediate prognosis over the next six months is not very good.” Professor Steffen said farmers need to be aware that it is likely Australia will have dry conditions over the next several months.
Across the Murray-Darling Basin, streamflows have declined by 41 percent since the mid-1990s, the report found.
“We’ve been saying this in the scientific community for quite a while now that there are huge risks with climate change,” he said.
“People don’t understand that we rely on a reasonably steady climate.

Learn More