Australia is currently suffering from its worst drought on record. In the Murray Darling Basin (the main irrigation area of Australia) it is reported that unless sufficient rain falls in the next 6-8 weeks there will not be any water allocations for irrigation until May 2008. The two main rivers supplying the area are at such low levels there will soon only be enough water to meet supplies of drinking water. The drought has already had a massive impact on farmers with milk yields already down and many farms are facing ruin unless there is significant rainfall soon, a threat that is becoming increasingly real with this weeks warning that irrigation to prime farmland will have to be cut unless the rains come soon. Already many rivers have been reduced to a trickle and water restrictions have been put in place in many urban areas.
You can read more about this in this excellent article from the Independent “Australia’s epic drought: the situation is grim”
Also have a look at these amazing (and very worrying!) photographs of the drought situation from the Guardian which give a real sense of what the current problem is!
For more detailed information sources on this see the Advanced Extension Blog.