Dry times for Adelaide

Our rainwater tanks in suburban Adelaide ran dry mid-February 2015 for the second time this summer, after a minimal rain event of about 20 mm mid-January 2015 put a small volume back in the tanks, but it was soon used up on the vegetables in their peak growing season. This was the first complete dry-out since we increased our capacity to 20,000 L in December 2009. We ran dry because the normal spring rains for Adelaide went missing for the last 5 months of 2014.

Our household water use was declining steadily after installing 20,000 L rainwater tanks, until dry summers in 2012 and 2013, and now a dry spring in 2014

Our household water use was declining steadily after installing 20,000 L rainwater tanks, until dry summers in 2012 and 2013, and now a dry spring in 2014


With above average rainfall patterns in 2011-2012, we went 18 months running a 2-adult household and garden entirely on rainwater. However, with the return of drier conditions, we had to call on mains water for the house in summer 2012 and again in summer 2013, while still watering the vegetable garden with rainwater through the summer.

In the dry second half of 2014, our rainwater storage volumes declined to seriously low levels in early spring, due to the lack of rain from the end of July. We switched the house back to mains water at the beginning of October 2014, to save the last water for the vegetable garden.

Now the Bureau of Meteorology is reporting increased temperatures, with an exceptional autumn hot spell in northern and central Australia (March 2015), following Australia’s warmest spring on record (December 2014). The combination of rising temperatures and decreased rainfall does not paint a good picture for local water resources going forward in 2015.

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About redgumgirl

Dr Anne Jensen is an environmental consultant with a passionate interest in sustainable management of our natural resources, particularly the River Murray and wetland environments. She is particularly interested in using photographs and stories to explain issues around water and protecting natural ecosystems in terms that are understood by the wider community, so that we can manage our environment sustainably for our common future.
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