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Australia leading the way in drought management policy

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The UN Weather Agency has stressed the need for all countries, particularly those that are currently drought stricken, to develop drought-management policies similar to those of Australia.

According to an article published by the Herald Sun, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is planning on holding a meeting in March in Geneva to discuss the development of uniform practices regarding water usage.

The emphasis will be on developing world-wide practices for conserving water, which will ultimately require that each and every living person alters their daily habits in order to consume less water. 

Australia is the only country with a national drought policy, and Mannava VK Sivakumar, director of WMO's climate prediction and adaptation branch explains this is advantageous because “national action is required no matter who is in political power.”

On April, 12, 2012 Australia’s federal Labor government announced that the country was officially drought free, after enduring over ten years of its effects.

While the drought was devastating and its impact spread far and wide, from those on the land right through to the average consumer, had Australia not developed its National Drought Policy in 1992 its effects may have been much worse.

Greg Laughlin and Anthony Clark, authors of Drought Science and Drought Policy in Australia: A Risk Management Perspective explain that the policy has “moved Australia’s drought policy away from a subsidy-based, reactionary or ‘crisis driven’ approach. The... [policy] considers [drought] a normal part of the Australian farming environment."

Australia’s drought policy is comprised of three key principles, all of which will be addressed by www.fatcow.com.au

The first, to encourage all those involved in Australia’s agricultural sector to adopt a self-reliant approach to managing the country’s constantly changing climatic conditions, will be addressed here.

Farmers can adopt a self-reliant approach by ensuring they install rainwater tanks, such as those from Polymaster and Global Roto-Moulding , on their properties.

This will ensure excess rainwater is captured rather than wasted, and it can be used as an alternative to water from the main’s supply.

Installing weather stations and sensors from company’s including Campbell Scientific and Orbit Communications allows for air and soil temperatures, soil moisture and evapotranspiration to be measured on a daily basis.

These allow farmers to better predict the conditions that characterise drought, as they are constantly aware of abnormalities that may arise, which allows them to take action accordingly.

Self-reliance can also be achieved by ensuring irrigation systems are as water efficient as they can possibly be. Valley irrigation benders from Valmont are a perfect example, as they allow water application rates to be controlled incredibly precisely, which prevents water wastage and promotes conservation.

Evidently, there are a number of methods and practices that can be adopted in order to develop a self-sufficient approach to drought, and the associated benefits are insurmountable.

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