Climate change assessment reveals: more water catchments at risk Media Release

May 01, 2008 - 5:22am

Data obtained from a soon-to-be published CSIRO report demonstrates that the catchments most at risk from climate change impacts include the major cities of mainland Australia – where more than 60 per cent of the population of Australia lives.

The Climate Institute said that the regions most at risk from climate change on the Australian continent are the catchments of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Murray-Riverina.

The assessment, undertaken by the CSIRO this year, was based on climate change impacts, historical rainfall changes, catchment condition and population growth.

“Clearly, there will be high costs of Government inaction on climate change – and it will be felt hardest in our major cities,” Climate Institute CEO Mr John Connor said.

“New research by the CSIRO has also shown that the impact of climate change on the length of severe droughts may double or triple in some parts of Australia after 2050.

“Australians will pay the price of Government inaction on climate change – with higher water and food costs over the coming years,” Mr Connor said.

The assessment revealed reveals drops in the following catchments:

  • Blackwood River (WA): Down 9 per cent by 2030; down 26 per cent by 2070;
  • Brisbane River (Qld): Down 5 per cent by 2030; down 14 per cent by 2070;
  • Hawkesbury River (NSW): Down 3 per cent by 2030; down 7 per cent by 2070;
  • Murray-Riverina (NSW): Down 7 per cent by 2030; down 20 per cent by 2070;
  • Thomson River (Vic): Down 5 per cent by 2030; down 14 per cent by 2070;
  • Torrens River (SA): Down 6 per cent by 2030; down 16 per cent by 2070.

Mr Connor said that the report findings should come as a “reality check” to those calling for less urgent responses to the threat of dangerous climate change impacts.

“This report reveals that it is in Australia’s national interest to lead on these matters – at home and abroad,” Mr Connor said.

“This is why we need further action to reduce our carbon emissions and to forge international agreement on tougher targets,” Mr Connor said.

Mr Connor today spoke at the fourth annual Australian Water Summit. A policy briefing note is attached to this release – and also available on The Climate Institute’s web site.

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