Water Survey

Australia’s Flood Problem Just Starting

5 Comments 11 January 2011

Australia’s Flood Problem Just Starting

Flash flooding in Queensland, Australia has brought water woes to the surface in the Asia-Pacific. For the past 10 years, Australia struggled to manage drought and water shortages. Now, the country is inundated by amounts of water that it can’t handle.

Australia’s coal and mining industry are suspended and farming operations are at a standstill. Damages incurred by the floods could total up to $5 billion.The economy of Australia, which is largely contingent upon agriculture, has been completely compromised by the floods.

Eight people were reported dead and seventy-two others are missing because of the torrential rain. Over 200,000 people have been affected by the floods. Civilians livelihoods have been washed away with the overwhelming amounts of rain that have swept the countryside.

Water management policy in Australia is mostly geared toward stewarding resources efficiently. However, the water world will witness a complete shift in Australian natural resource policy as officials respond to the floods.

The tricky part of managing water resources appropriately, is that unexpected natural events occur. Timely revisions in Australia’s national water management policy must be implemented to address the crisis. Of course, the rising water level is just the first consequence of the floods. The real trouble for Australia lies ahead.

Crops from irrigated farming will undoubtedly be compromised due to the flooding rains. Other deleterious affects brought on by the disaster will only compound the socio-economic problem that the country now grapples with. One has to wonder if an impending food shortage will follow the floods, since harvests may not yield the same output as prior years. Public health and safety, and the spread of communicable diseases is a major concern in the flood equation as well.

The international community will surely have to invest and intervene in relief efforts for Australia. A formal “meeting of the minds” to discuss short and long term consequences of the flooding is required to mitigate the devastation before it gets any worse.

At present, the country exists in a perpetual state of water crisis. Unfortunately, Australia now faces the other side of the water crisis coin. Infrastructure to deal with an event such as flash flooding was not in place. And consequently, civilians are suffering more because of it.

Water reform policy will be in interesting outcome of Australia’s unfortunate tragedy. Adapting to the exact antithesis of what has plagued the nation for a decade, will prove arduous yet interesting. Moderating existing policy and planning for future legislation must be tackled systematically such that short term needs of civilians are satisfied while long term investments in the economy are secured.

The floods in Australia undermine sustainable development on several fronts. The country has suffered a serious blow to the economy, infrastructure is toppled, and people have been internally displaced from their homes and livelihood.

Cyclic drought and flooding is typically common in Least Developed Countries. However, seeing such an event wipe out an industrialized nation puts issues like global climate change and water resource management at the top of the international agenda.

For everything that remains out of human control, officials must grab the reigns on what is in our control. Organizing a comprehensive water management agenda that prioritizes an enforceable global climate change policy and includes a budget for disaster relief needs to be agreed upon by developing and industrialized countries. Because the floods are not just Australia’s problem, they are the world’s problem. And the world must join in solidarity to implement a reasonable solution.

The photo above is credited to Business Insider.

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