History of drought management in Australia

Reardon-Smith, Kathryn and Williams, Allyson and Mushtaq, Shahbaz and Cobon, David and McRae, David and Kouadio, Louis (2017) History of drought management in Australia. In: Handbook of drought and water scarcity. Vol. 3. Management of drought and water scarcity. Handbook of Drought and Water Security, 3. Taylor & Francis (CRC Press), Boca Raton, United States, pp. 423-448. ISBN 978-1-4987-3100-3

Abstract

In Australia, as in other parts of the world, drought is a common climatic phenomenon causing significant social, economic, and environmental impact [37,91,107]. However, perhaps uniquely, drought in Australia has also driven significant adaptation. Australia’s agricultural production systems operate under a high level of uncertainty in terms of climate variability [82] and are renowned as some of the most resourceefficient, globally [25,65]. Australia has developed high-level research expertise in understanding climate systems and, to some extent, the drivers of drought [66,123]. It is also one of the few countries to have
legislated a national drought policy aimed at managing drought risk [16,123].

This chapter provides an overview of Australia’s drought history, the ways in which drought risk and associated water scarcity have been managed over time, and the impact of drought on Australian landscapes, production systems, and communities. It looks at responses to drought from prehistorical evidence of Aboriginal Australians’ land use systems developed over thousands of years, through the challenges faced by European settlers in modifying conventional farming systems and adapting to the extremes of climate variability over the last 230 years, to current-day drought risk management and regional, state, and national governance around mitigating the impact of drought events and managing water scarcity. It starts by considering the role that research has taken in enhancing the understanding of the geophysical systems that influence climate variability, including drought, in Australia and concludes by considering the challenges Australia will face under future climates.


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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published chapter, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 06:11
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 03:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: drought; Australia
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960704 Land Stewardship
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35387

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