Life?s going to be hell in the future
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
THE Northern Rivers is set for a radical climatic change with a future that will be hotter and drier, with wild storms and devastating bushfires. That is the finding of the latest research from the CSIRO, which says temperatures may rise by 6.4 degrees on the Far North Coast by 2070. The weather projections have been released as part of a NSW Greenhouse Office study into the greenhouse gas effect. As well as more days over 35 degrees, the coast will receive a battering in increased storm activity, with areas such as Belongil spit under threat of being wiped out. And a local scientist is calling for action by councils to meet the challenge. Climate change specialist, Associate Professor Graham Jones, from Southern Cross University's School of Environmental Science and Management, says a regional strategy is needed. Top of his list of concerns is water conservation and management. "The distribution of water is going to become critical...it's connected to everything we do." "I don't think we can take the wet season for granted any longer." Associate Professor Jones suggests permanent water restrictions such as watering on alternate days, mulching garden beds, and domestic rainwater tanks as some measures that need to be taken immediately. "Farmers will feel the pressure. They are already going through hell (with the drought)," he said. "Smart farmers will make provisions to prevent water loss." While George Flick is not convinced about the greenhouse theory, the third-generation Ewingsdale farmer agrees with Associate Professor Jones about the effects of climate change. "This is the driest I can ever remember it being, and it's the longest dry spell," Mr Flick said. "I don't know if it's caused by greenhouse gas or not...Australia has always been a dry country." This drought, however, seemed to be dragging on. "Every day you look up to see if there's a cloud on the way," Mr Flick said.