Rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gases in our atmosphere will intensify the Earth’s water cycle, increasing evaporation. Increased evaporation will result in a reduction in soil moisture content in most areas of Australia. Rainfall predictions are uncertain, most models predict a reduction in rainfall, a shift in rainfall seasonality and an increase in rainfall event intensity. The warming trend in sea surface temperatures may have also contributed to the magnitude of heavy rainfall in recent years.
Consistent with global studies, and increase in the proportion of heavy rainfall has been detected over Australia
Extreme rain events in Queensland are projected to become more intense
Both wetter and drier futures should be considered.
Changes to productive land and cropping areas
Changing cost of water
Increased water usage restrictions within communities
Water security in both urban and agricultural sectors will be put at risk
What the Climate Hub is doing
The Hub is working with researchers and students from James Cook University in a project that will engage with key regional industry groups (sugar, grazing, horticulture and tourism) to determine how industry representatives in the region perceive the risk and opportunities presented by climate change.
The Whitsunday Industry Resilience Project will see surverys conducted with small business owners throughout the region. The research will provide advice on the role that Council and other stakeholders could have in assisting key industries to adapt and build resilience to a changing climate.
The Hub is also working with Whitsunday Water on a project that is looking at optimising the use of solar in water treatment and pumping. More information on the project page.
What you can do
The most important thing we can do as a community is reduce our water usage. Check out the Whitsunday Regional Council website to view our current local water restrictions and read about tips to save water at home and in your garden.