A Thirsty Island
Australia’s once lush Murray-Darling basin supplies water for four Australian states. However, due to unsustainable management and Australia's worst drought in 100 years (called "The Big Dry"), the water of the basin’s Lower Lakes has been overallocated and depleted to a disastrous degree. Receding water levels have wreaked havoc on the surrounding ecosystem, raising the salt content of the remaining water to undrinkable levels and inciting a mass evacuation of the area's famous Australian Pelicans.
Scientists believe the basin is destined to become a series of acid lakes. (In fact, acid sulfates - a byproduct of pollution – already cause the lake bed to burn one’s feet.) Local farmers are being forced to give up their herds, crops, and businesses as the allocation they’ve enjoyed has finally become unsustainable.
The situation looks grim. Earlier this month Water Minister Penny Wong declared the Lower Lakes to be “beyond salvation.
Creative Commons Image: "Lake Hume at 4% - 6531" by suburbanbloke on Flickr.