Thursday, 16 August 2007

When the rivers run dry ...

When the rivers run dry

Our Eco Book Group met to discuss When the Rivers Run Dry: What happens when our water runs out? by Fred Pearce. And it certainly caused some lively discussion. We were all a bit depressed after reading his stories about the use and abuse of fresh water in the world. He paints a terrifying picture of the global water crisis, and he's such a good story-teller that complex situations are illuminated for us mere mortals.
Chapter headings are:
When the rivers run dry ... the crops fail
When the rivers run dry ... we mine our children's water
When the rivers run dry ... the wet places die
When the rivers run dry ... floods may not be far behind
When the rivers run dry ... engineers pour concrete
When the rivers run dry ... men go to war over water
When the rivers run dry ... civilisations fail
When the rivers run dry ... we go looking for new water
When the rivers run dry ... we try to catch the rain
When the rivers run dry ... we go with the flow
The final chapters are quite optimistic but book group members were quite pessimistic. Here in Geelong we're on Stage 4 water restrictions and the authorities are tapping into aquifers, talking about desalination plants. The Moorabool River, which flows into the Barwon at Geelong, is not getting any release of water from the reservoir upstream because Ballarat needs it. And they are planning a new subdivision to accommodate 50 000 people. Where are they going to get the water from?
In the meantime people are installing rainwater tanks. Our neighbour had his delivered this week and it's sitting on his nature strip because his house is on a steep slope and now he has to figure out how he's going to get it to the top of his block. I hope I'm home to watch it all happen. I bet there will be lots of arm waving and swearing.

Rainwater tank on nature strip

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