Author : J. V. Hodgkinson F. C. A. Chartered
Accountant : Aug 2006 to April 2013
The principal thrust of this
This is my review based on official
statistics and documents. It is done in conjunction with Ron McMah, grazier
of Imbil and Trevor Herse, retired of the Gold Coast
May 2009 Largely as it was in August 2007
The Bureau definition of a drought has changed from "acute shortage of water". This old definition was used by the QWC and applied to the depleted dam. It ignored the hydrological situation ( source meeting with Minister Hinchliffe and QWC officers 31st January 2009)
Initial look at the Bureau's hydrology maps that formed the basis of the "drought"
The Bureau of Meteorology is the chief recorder of Rainfall and other items related to weather. In August 2006, their rainfall maps were my first observation point. A click on the "drought" heading for the last three years to July 2006 showed a decile map which grades rainfall from 1 to 10 and recorded that it was in the category of "lowest on record" for the catchments of the Dams.
The diversity of the answers for exactly the same rainfall required explanation. You will see from the attached e-mail from a Climatologist from the Bureau of Meteorology National Climate Centre that the two results are compatible. The Dam catchments had received close to 80% of the long term average and that 80% was the "lowest on record". They later confirmed that District 40 in which the catchments reside is a stable rainfall area and permits this Statistical aberration.
May 2009 Additions added
Definition of a droughtIn the B.O.M. glossary of terms, Drought is described as "Prolonged absence of marked deficiency of precipitation (rain).
In "living with drought" the Bureau states that "Meteorologists monitor the extent and severity of drought in terms of rainfall deficiency".
Our Leaders have placed before us the Meteorology definition of a drought. It was contained in the "Decile" map delivered to our homes in SEQ. "Decile maps" grade rainfall in section 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest on record and 10 being the highest on record.
It was used by the QCCCE when documenting the "drought" to January 2007. The base was on rainfall as no hydrology report was available at that time distance.
THE LAST TWO YEARS ( to March 2009)
A look at the available maps (in the bureau website) for the last two years reveals that
APPARENT DEPARTURE FROM METEOROLOGICAL DEFINITION IN THE LAST TWO YEARS
We are all aware that the definition of a "drought" is now tied to the dam levels with 60% ( now 74% May 2009) being the end of the "drought". This is a significant change to a "social expectations and perceptions" view of a drought.
In my view, departure from the meteorological definition obscures the underlying reason for the depletion of our dams and as a consequence the view of all solutions to it.