The worst drought in living history is sweeping parts of Australia, leaving farmers struggling to cope. While the weather has improved in parts of Western Australia, there has been no winter rain across much of the country’s east, leaving farmers hoping for rain after planting seeds in dry soil or culling cattle and sheep so they can no longer afford to feed. Droughts have a strong effect on people and farmers such as causing environmental change, financial problems and it is also expected to have a serious impact on crops and live stock.
The government forecast is at its lowest wheat crop for 12 years, a 62% decrease on last year. As dams and water dry up, water quality can decline often leading to outbreaks of toxic algae, severe bush fires and dust Storms are also most likely to occur during droughts.
In the deserts of the Southwest, the average precipitation is less than 3 inches per year. In contrast, the average precipitation in the Northwest is more than 150 inches per year. When little or no rain falls, soils can dry out and plants can die. When rainfall is less than normal for a period of weeks to years, stream flows decline, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought.
Here are a few ways you can help and donate to the people effected by droughts.
– Australian Red Cross
– Rural Aid/Buy a Bale
– Drought Angels
– Aussie Helpers
– Lions Need For Feed
– Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
– Salvation Army