126. Follow the instruction to write 600words report.All the work must be originalTurn it in report is required
Unformatted Attachment Preview
To help drought-affected farmers, we need to support them in good
times as well as bad
August 9, 2018
1. Jacki Schirmer
Associate Professor, University of Canberra
2. Dominic Peel
PhD Candidate in Public Health, University of Canberra
3. Ivan Charles Hanigan
Data Scientist (Epidemiology), University of Sydney
4. Kimberly Brown
PhD Researcher, University of Canberra
With the New South Wales government announcing that drought is now affecting the entire state,
the federal government’s crisis assistance payments have been described by some as too little, too
late. The National Farmers Federation has renewed its calls for a national drought policy and drought
experts have expressed concern about reliance on emergency handouts.
With droughts predicted to grow in frequency and severity in the future, we need to support
farmers and their communities to adapt to these changes.
To best support the well-‐being of farmers and farming communities, we need to support them not
just when they are in the middle of a drought, but also when the rain comes and the dust has
settled. An emergency response is important, but on its own is not enough -‐ our farming
communities deserve more. It needs to be accompanied by long-‐term coordinated support,
delivered through the whole drought cycle, that helps farmers prepare for drought, cope with
drought when it is happening, and recover rapidly afterwards.
Prolonged droughts harm the health and well-‐being of people in farming communities, although
research also shows that not everyone is affected to the same extent, and some not at all. This
means we need to learn from past experience in choosing what actions represent the best and most
Providing farmers with emergency assistance when drought is at its worst helps to alleviate the most
acute hardship. But multiple inquiries and research studies have concluded that this approach is not
To truly support the well-‐being of farming communities facing the threat of drought, we need to
invest more in actions that support their preparedness and resilience before drought hits, rather
than waiting until conditions are at their worst before offering help.
Australia in Drought
The hydro-‐illogical cycle
Doing this requires breaking the “hydro-‐illogical cycle”, in which a severe drought triggers short-‐term
concern and assistance, followed by a return to apathy and complacency once the rains return.
When drought drops off the public and media radar, communities are often left with little or no
support to invest in preparing for the next inevitable drought.
Farmers need proactive, long-‐term access to drought preparedness schemes well in advance, before
the effects of drought begin to bite. Farmers who use programs such as the farm management
deposits scheme, which allows them to put aside surplus income in good years and draw on it in
difficult ones, have higher well-‐being during droughts than those who access emergency assistance
provided during drought.
Our research has also identified some other ways to protect farmers’ well-‐being during challenging
times. These include investing in forward planning for drought, supporting farmers to invest in
“drought-‐proofing” measures suitable to their farm, and creating networks through which farmers
can share their knowledge about what works to cope best with the financial, psychological and social
challenges they face.
These things are not a “fix” for drought; a drought will always have significant impacts. But they can
help reduce the severity of impacts, and the time taken to recover. However, to really be effective,
these actions need to be invested in between droughts, in addition to investing in emergency
support during drought.
We can learn a lot from the actions that farmers are already taking. Thousands of farmers have
spent years investing in drought resilience, for example by changing pasture types and water
management practices, and by changing how they plan for and manage periods of low rainfall.
This investment often goes unsupported and unrecognised, and has to be done among the ever-‐
present pressures of challenging market conditions, low profit margins, rising costs, the need to
repay debts incurred in the last drought or flood, and the myriad daily pressures of farming. We
need to better reward farmers who make these investments, and to offer incentives for continued
investment in this type of action between droughts.
One investment being made by many farmers across Australia is the adoption of regenerative
farming, in which the entire farming system is re-‐oriented with a goal of better using natural
ecosystem processes to support production, and of better matching production to land capacity
through different climatic conditions.
Early research findings suggest that engaging in regenerative farming can improve drought
resilience. But shifting to use of this approach to farming takes a lot of time and investment; before
asking farmers to make fundamental changes to the way they farm, we need more research that
critically examines when, where and how different farming systems can help safeguard against
As well as helping farmers invest in actions to increase resilience to drought, we also need to
consider the best ways to support those who are suffering severe psychological and financial stress.
For many farmers, supporting them to cope with drought and stay in farming is the best decision.
But for others, the best decision can be to leave farming altogether.
Australia in Drought
The decision to leave farming is understandably one of the most challenging times in a farmer’s life,
and often happens when their well-‐being is low and they are experiencing psychological distress.
This means that the quality of help they receive during this time can make a big difference in how
well they cope. Services such as the Rural Financial Counselling Service have a vital role to play at all
times (before, during and after drought) in giving advice to farmers weighing up the agonising
decision to stay or leave.
If you want to help farmers, keep supporting relief funds – they provide essential help during the
worst of drought. But also tell your local politician that you support investment in long-‐term
programs that help farmers improve their resilience to the next drought, and the one after that, and
that recognise and reward the investments farmers are already making in doing this.
If we truly have our farmers’ well-‐being at heart, we should be taking drought action in wet years as
well as dry, and in good times as well as bad.
The lessons we need to learn to deal with the ‘creeping disaster’
November 9, 2016
1. Anthony Kiem
Associate Professor – Hydroclimatology, University of Newcastle
2. Fiona Johnson
Senior Lecturer, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW
3. Seth Westra
Associate Professor, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, University of Adelaide
Droughts are a natural feature of the Australian environment. But the Millennium drought (or “Big
Dry”), which ran from 1997 to 2010, was a wake-‐up call even by our parched standards.
The Millennium drought had major social, economic and environmental impacts). It triggered water
restrictions in major cities, and prompted severe reductions in irrigation allocations throughout the
vast Murray-‐Darling Basin.
The Millennium drought also highlighted that, compared to the rest of the world, the impacts of
drought on Australia’s society and economy are particularly severe. This is mainly because our water
Australia in Drought
storage and supply systems were originally designed by European settlers who failed to plan for the
huge variability in Australia’s climate.
Have we learned the lessons?
Are we likely to fare any better when the next Big Dry hits? It’s important to reflect on how much we
actually understand drought in Australia, and what we might expect in the future.
Our study, part of the Australian Water and Energy Exchanges Initiative (OzEWEX), had two aims
related to this question. The first was to document what is known and unknown about drought in
Australia. The second aim was to establish how Australia’s scientists and engineers can best
investigate those unknowns.
The fact is that despite their significance, droughts are generally still poorly understood. This makes
it hard to come up with practical, effective strategies for dealing with them when they strike.
One reason for this is that unlike natural hazards with more graphic and measurable impacts (such
as floods, cyclones, and bushfires), droughts develop gradually over huge areas, and can last for
years. Often they go unnoticed until they trigger widespread water or food shortages, or cause
significant energy, economic, health or environmental issues.
Drought has been described as a “creeping disaster”, because by the time a drought is identified, it is
usually already well under way, the costs to fix it are mounting, and the opportunity to take
proactive action has already been missed.
This is complicated still further by the uncertainties around defining, monitoring and forecasting
drought – including predicting when a drought will finally end. As in the case of other natural
hazards (such as drought’s polar opposite, floods), what we need most is accurate and practically
useful information on the likelihood, causes and consequences of droughts in particular areas.
This is a very tricky question, not least because we still need to come up with a rigorous way to
distinguish between correlation and causation. For example, are increased local temperatures
a cause or a consequence of drought?
The complications don’t end there. Because droughts are so much slower and bigger than other
natural disasters, they therefore have much more complicated effects on agriculture, industry and
society. Bushfires can be devastating, but they also offer ample opportunities to learn lessons for the
next time. Droughts, in contrast, give us limited opportunities to learn how best to prepare.
Yet prepare we must. Given Australia’s history of decades-‐long swings between wet and dry, and the
fact that these swings are projected to grow even stronger, drought will be a key concern for
Australia for a long time to come.
What to do next
We therefore make several recommendations to help boost our understanding and management of
Australia in Drought
1). Reconsider the way drought is defined and monitored to remove confusion between drought
causes, impacts and risks. Similarly, there is also a need to better distinguish between drought,
aridity, and water scarcity due to over-‐extractions.
The simplest definition of “drought” is a deficit of water compared with normal conditions. But what
is normal? How long does the deficit have to persist, and how severe does it need to be, to be
considered a drought? What is meant by water: rainfall, snow, ice, streamflow, water in a storage
reservoir, groundwater, soil moisture, or all of these?
The answers to these questions depend very much on the local situation in terms of climate and
water use, which varies significantly in space and time and is why the simplest definition of drought
is insufficient. We need to develop drought definitions that clearly differentiate drought from long-‐
term changes in aridity and water scarcity, and that capture drought start, duration, magnitude and
spatial extent. Such definitions should account for the differences between Australia’s climate zones,
the wide variety of end-‐users and applications of drought monitoring information, and the diversity
of droughts that have occurred in the past. There needs to be a common understanding of what a
drought is and the differences between drought, aridity and human-‐induced water scarcity.
2). Improve documentation of droughts that took place before weather records began, in roughly
1900. This will improve our understanding of Australia’s long-‐term “baseline” drought characteristics
(that is, how bad can droughts get? how doe …
Purchase answer to see full