Blog Action Day: What If The Water Runs Out?

Published by 29 Comments

Today is the first annual Blog Action Day, the day bloggers unite to help raise awareness for the environment. Here is Entrepreneurs-Journey.com’s contribution to the cause.

Blog Action Day

You may have heard that Australia is running out of water. Brisbane, were I was born and currently live, is one of the largest cities, the capital of Queensland and the capital city with the lowest percentage of water left in its dams. As I type this we have 21% in our dams.

Water, as we all realize is damn important, no pun intended.

Currently here in Brisbane we are not allowed to water our gardens except with buckets, showers are capped at a maximum of four minutes long and one day soon having a swimming pool in your backyard will be a thing of the past or only for the rich who buy in water from other areas outside of Brisbane.

The target “per household” goal we were set by our local government was 140 litres per day. After much publicity the people of Brisbane brought the average down and met and surpassed the target, making us the most water saving city in the world. That’s pretty impressive stuff, unfortunately it doesn’t mean squat if it doesn’t rain.

Water DropAll of the current water saving initiatives are meant to help keep things going for as long as necessary for it to rain. If the environment doesn’t step in and bail us out, then no amount of water savings will help.

I have a friend here in Brisbane who works for the state government and is in charge of buying up local government dams so that the one state government can control the water and when necessary, divert it to Brisbane.

I asked him what’s it really like with the water and what the plan is if the rain doesn’t come.

Now I’m not one to deal in fear, but I have to admit what he said made me pretty scared.

If it doesn’t rain over this summer (starting December down here in the southern hemisphere), and that’s some serious rain – summer storms that dump a ton of water and at least three weeks worth over the dam catchment areas – well, we could run out of water.

Does the government have a plan to deal with this? It’s hard to say and my friend certainly doesn’t know of one.

We have “water restriction levels” that keep jumping up every few months or so the longer the drought lasts. Level 6 is due to hit mid November and as much as these restrictions are helping to keep water consumption down, they apparently seem to make it up as they go along indicating that the contingency plan for a “no rain” situation will either be made up when it comes close, in other words – there isn’t one – or there is some plan but the government isn’t going to talk about a no rain situation for fear of mass panic.

The scenario goes something like this:

Sometime next year, if it still hasn’t rained the water restrictions reach the point where you can’t have a shower. The next step is you can’t use your washing machine and then flushing the toilet is out as well. We will always have drinking water, but I doubt people will stay in Brisbane when you can’t have a shower and the plumbing isn’t working.

That may sound a bit extreme, but it could happen. I hope there are plans in place that could see technology come to our rescue and certainly a lot is going on right now to increase our water supply, but with so many people coming into this area, if mother nature doesn’t help out, things could turn worse before they turn better.

The Property Boom

Property MarketI’ve adjusted my investment plans because of the drought. I had plans to buy another property in Brisbane but I’ve since put them on hold to see whether it rains. I can carry one property at the moment quite comfortably but to get another based on my current income, would put more stress on my finances and I just don’t like that the market could fall apart sometime next year if the water crisis worsens.

The property market in Brisbane has exploded over the last year or two, with some suburbs growing as much as 10% in the span of three months.

It’s come about because the banks are fighting to lend out money, so many people are moving into Brisbane from down south and rental prices have skyrocketed. When demand outstrips supply and it’s almost the same price to get a mortgage as it is to pay rent, property prices rise. If you want to live in Brisbane you have to be prepared to fight for your home.

I experienced this myself recently when I purchased my first house. It took several months of hunting to finally get a place because each time a property would come on the market it would be gone in days. The areas I wanted to buy in would increase in price each month and it became harder and harder to get into the market. If you aren’t prepared to act fast and decide to make an offer upon first inspection, possibly a higher offer than the asking price, you may miss out because someone else beats you or offers more money.

That’s a scary way to purchase the largest asset most people ever own.

I eventually got my house because I could monitor the web and email property alerts working from home and called up agents immediately when something I took interest in came on the market. When I saw a place I liked I made an offer prior to the official inspection and got my house (photos coming soon still!).

It it doesn’t rain, well you know what happens to the Brisbane property market. Although that would be one of many economic crisis. It’s tough to say what would happen exactly, but if people can’t have a shower in Brisbane, people are not going to stay in Brisbane, and if the city that once claimed to be Australia’s most livable became unlivable, I think the entire Australian economy could collapse.

Now all of this could be averted, it might rain or perhaps the scenario I paint is an overreaction and there are plenty of contingencies in place. It’s tough to say because you can’t really expect a government to tell it’s people that the water will run out if it doesn’t rain because that could cause a crisis to occur before the rain runs out. It’s better to talk about what’s being done to help the situation, rather than talk about worse case scenarios happening as early as 2008.

Blog Action Day

Blog action day is about raising awareness for environmental issues. Australia, one of the best places to live on this planet, is running out of water and it’s tough to say how much humanity has contributed to this problem, but I know a lot of people would point a finger at global warming. Australia is not the only place with a water crisis and as city populations grow and the environment becomes less stable, it doesn’t paint a good picture.

I have hope though, especially in our ability to invent and innovate to solve problems. Can technology save us? It’s impossible to say, but one thing is for sure, when the weather – something we can’t control – starts to significantly impact our way of life, people will finally take notice.

Here’s to raising awareness for all environmental issues.

Yaro Starak
Thirsty

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Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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29 Comments

  • It is ridiculous Yaro,

    We aren’t so bad off up here in Yeppoon, but the whole water shortage is really a joke in my eyes. Why doesn’t the government make it an obligation to install a rain water tank for EVERY new house being built.

    Apparently they also knew about desalination like 10 years ago, so what’s the hold up?

    It’s kind of ironic really, we are surrounded by water here in Australia, yet the water runs out.

    Even if e are all contributing by turning our water off where we can I don’t think it will be enough to get out of this sticky position.

    We need some massive rainfalls to replenish the dams in Brissie.

    Monika

  • Yaro congratulations to you. Excellent, excellent post on the real interaction of water depletion and conservation to everyday life.

    Last I was in Brisbane (for the blog conference where we met), the motel in the city had turned their hot water down to almost nil. I can guarantee that I was in and out real quick!!!!! It has made me wonder whether I really want to come to Brisbane for a weekend stay again or not.

    Coming from the tropics (I was also born and raised in PNG) we are very used to water tanks and water conservation in the dry. My children are so lucky that they grew up making conscious choices about whether to flush the toilet or not. While we all laughed when “Meet the Fockers” father said something along the lines of, “If it’s yellow, it’s mellow. If it’s brown flush it down,” it is a needed practice for many parts of Australia.

    And…it is lovely to see you in Bumpzee Yaro.
    You take care and stay safe. M

  • Excellent post, I really enjoyed this this morning. I’m moving house soon and green issues are very much on my mind.

  • Great post Yaro. I suspect many Aussies supporting Blog Action Day will write about this topic. I know I have in my own contribution Shower with a Friend (hope you don’t mind me linking to it.

    To be honest I don’t think it’s fair to put the blame entirely on Governments. We are a democracy and we get what we vote for. If either of the two mainstream parties had put this issue high on its election manifesto a few years ago, at the expense of other issues, the majority of the city dwelling population would have crucified them in the election. It’s really only in the last couple of years that the penny has really dropped for most of us. And I guess we’re paying the price.

    It’s scary to think that human beings are the smartest creatures on the planet.

  • Brisbane’s water-reduction achievement is impressive. I’d love to see other cities try to mimic it.

    Here in arid Israel, water is arguably THE most precious natural resource (no oil here, and even then…) and could literally start a war.

    Lots of water-saving technologies have been developed here and have gone elsewhere (eg. drip irrigation) but that’s a shame; I would have preferred that the rest of the globe not need them.

    Let’s hope Blog Action Day can play even a small part in slowing down the freight train we’re on.

    Here’s my Blog Action Day Blogging:

    http://jobmob.co.il/blog/the-obnoxious-guide-to-environmentally-safe-job-hunting/

  • Action Plan – drink less water, more booze.

  • I agree, the government should start making it compulsory to fit rain water tanks etc then we wouldn’t find ourselves in these situations. Nice Post Yaro.

  • Take action to protect our environment now !
    Don’t wait ~

  • Hey Yaro

    Yeah, we’ve got a problem Huston – or should I say Brisbane!?

    I’ve actually had a chat to a number of engineers that I know here in Brisbane, and there ARE definitely some work being done to look at alternative means of providing water in case we run out.

    As far as I know these are pretty high pressure, high profile projects. And I guess with the water running out, the pressure is simply mounting increasingly more so.

    But as of yet, I’m not aware of a solution in place as such. Maybe it’s just around the corner. I sure hope so, because, as you say, it could really have a dramatic impact on Brisbane’s housing market and the wider Australian economy.

    There’s a little ghost town in Namibia, close to where I grew up (sort of), that was established because of the diamonds in the area. Back then, people could simply pick diamonds up from the ground in the river mouth where the town got established.

    But as you can imagine, these surface diamonds quickly ran out, and within a few years, the little town (Kolmanskop – http://www.namibia-travel.net/southnamibia/kolmankop.htm) went from luxury to nothing in a matter of months. Now it’s just a ghost town in the middle of the desert with the houses filled with sand.

    I’m not aware of any diamonds lying around on the surface here in Brisbane, but the water that we do have, certainly are as precious, and perhaps even more so, than diamonds.

    Let’s hope Brissie doesn’t turn into a Kolmanskop ghost desert town…

    Gideon Shalwick
    http://www.InternetMarketingWizards.com

  • [...] Yaro Starak from Australia tells that the citizens of Brisbane are running out of water. They are already taking all the actions for saving water that I presented in my post, and the next step if it won’t soon start raining will be that people start moving out from Brisbane. I can only imagine the economic consequences of that happening. [...]

  • In the SE of England we had a couple of years of very low rainfall which resulted in a drought last summer. Fortunately we are not in the same position as Australia especially as we had a wet winter, but if we hadn’t things would have been very bad this summer. Interestingly we had the other extreme this summer with severe floods in several places around the country.

    I think that Australia is doing a great job on minimising water use and other countries could learn a lot, especially around the product labelling and education.

    Personally I believe that it will be a combination of technology and behavioural change that will save us. However, desalination may not be technology as it is energy intensive and could cause more damage because all the salt taken out of the water needs to go somewhere, possibly making the seas too salty for the sealife.

  • Anthony

    Hi there.

    Rather an emotive article. Good one :)

    But recycled water is coming to Brisbane eventually so I think the picture isn’t so bad.

    Whether you are for or against it it’s hard not to argue that we need it.

    The question is will it get here in time to overt crazy restrictions like those presented in your article.

    Time will tell.

  • Pierluigi Rotundo

    I think the wars of the future will be fighted because of water, not oil…We need a common action to save the environment. Everybody, in its own little actions, must save the environment, and water too… NOW!

    Pierluigi Rotundo

  • Oh my gosh. I had NO idea. That’s because here in the US they have a bunch of dare I say stupid stuff on the news (e.g., Britney Spears, OJ Simpson) that makes me so sick that I actually try not to watch the news that often.

    I’ve been to Australia once many years ago in 1991 and visited Brisbane and Sydney…so beautiful!

    The sad (ironic) thing is that here in Austin, Texas we have had a record amount of rain this year. The lakes were overflowing, the dam was opened so houses wouldn’t get flooded, and they closed the lakes for weeks during the summer. It rained last night and is overcast today. The highs are still in the 90s and it’s October and if you didn’t know better you’d think it was Spring here with all the flowers still blooming.

    My blog action day post has to do with Paper.

    I am definitely going to Digg and Stumble this as I’m sure not enough people know about this issue in Brisbane.

  • Joe

    Good post. All over the world people take drinking water for granted. They just assume that anytime they turn on the faucet water will always come out, now and always in the future. It seems like no one bothers to think about where exactly that water is coming from. Maybe they think it’s just this magic substance that will always be there, no matter what. But really, Americans need the news to inform them of the things that really matter – like when does Lindsay get out of rehab, and did Britney get custody of her kids? These are the things that have an impact. The magic water elves that walk with their big buckets of fresh water every night while everyone is sleeping to dump into our lakes – they will continue to ensure we can shower every morning without worry.

  • I live 1 mile from Lake Michigan, right in the middle of the LARGEST SOURCE OF FRESHWATER IN THE WORLD

  • My bad – I accidentally hit “Tab”

    Anyway, despite this abundance of freshwater, even I’m getting nervous. The much drier U.S. Southwest is attempting to negotiate purchasing rights for Great Lakes water and we’ve had drought issues of our own. Just this summer, I walked about 100 meters out into what should have been Lake Superior without getting my feet wet.

    To me, the solution all focuses on us changing our mindset.

  • Man, and I thought us Brits had it bad with a hosepipe ban. Great post Yaro, and I hope BlogActionDay really helps to get the environment on everyone’s agendas.

  • I keep bringing on the same question on every Blog Action Day I see: How about the fact that being overly active on the Internet is a huge electricity waste factor?
    Blog Action Day Pollutes, user-generated power coming soon

  • Everyone can make a difference! If you are passionate about stopping global warming and the environment you should check out this website http://www.nvisioncfl.com . Changing to CFLs is a great way for individual people to really make a difference! You should also check out this site http://www.youtube.com/user/helpourworld for more ideas on how to help our world!

  • Hi Yaro,

    Water is getting tight down here in Melbourne too, this is definitely worth telling people about. The whole east coast needs a few seasons of solid rain.

  • The growth in Brisbane is amazing. I’ve been watching the city grow from my room and theres a new building popping up every few months. It’s no wonder the increased strain on our dams are leaving us dried up.

    If our economy is booming this much, you’d think we could afford to pipe the water down from North Queensland down to Brisbane. If they hook that up to the network of Dams they have at the moment, we should be safe. I mean they already do it with oil.

  • [...] Entreprenuer’s Journey – but one thing is for sure, when the weather – something we can’t control – starts to significantly impact our way of life, people will finally take notice. [...]

  • [...] are especially dangerous when they leak from landfills to groundwater. Considering the worldwide water shortages lately, this is something we really don’t want happening, which is why we need to recycle our [...]

  • [...] to Know My Environment Maki from DoshDosh – Top 20 Environmental Blogs You Can Read Yaro Starak – Blog Action Day: What If The Water Runs Out Ben at Instigator Blog – How Entrepreneurs Can Help Save the Environment Naomi Dunford from IttyBiz [...]

  • I live in the United States. Interesting. I have always imagined large parts of Australia to be desert, but I did not know that you are runnning out of water.

    Thank you for participating in Blog Action Day.

    I did not participate. However, I wrote a belated post about something happening in South America that many people do not know anything about:

    BRAZILIAN TEAK FLOORS IN LUXURY HOMES, SLAVE LABOR, AND DESTRUCTION OF THE RAIN FOREST.

    You can find it at:
    http://www.realestatetwincities.net/blog/

    Please share this with your readers. Usually I do not ask for this kind of help, but the topic is that important to me. Anything you can do to promote this link or awareness of this issue would be deeply appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • [...] Entrepreneur’s Journey, Yaro writes about the very frightening water supply situation in [...]

  • Hope someone will realize the problem not too much later…

    Pierluigi Rotundo

  • Hope the situation is better now.

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