Deadly flooding hits Queensland, drinking water threatened

• January 29, 2013
Flooding in Queensland, Australia, Creative Commons: 2013

Flooding in Queensland, Australia, Creative Commons: 2013

Cyclone Oswald inundated Queensland, Australia, with dangerous flooding on Monday, displacing about 7,500 people in Bundaberg and leaving four people dead.  The flooding was the highest the area has ever seen, and now rescue workers are preparing for massive relief and clean-up efforts.

Prime Minister Gillard remarked that this season has been a “tough period” for Queensland, and the whole country was being “challenged by nature.”  PM Gillard was likely referring to the combination of this deadly flooding with the record-breaking heat and severe wildfires seen so far this summer in the state.  Earlier this month, PM Gillard spoke of the influence of climate change on the increasing frequency of these extreme weather events in Australia.

The flooding caused by the cyclone also temporarily shut down a water treatment facility that provides drinking water to Brisbane, prompting authorities to enact mandatory water restrictions to conserve resources.  As of January 29th, the likelihood of Brisbane losing its fresh water supply is minimal, however, water conservation is still being encouraged until the plant is back to full capacity.  The water treatment facility was struggling to process the large amounts of silt that had been eroded into the water by the cyclone.

A very similar set of weather events – including extreme heat and dangerous flooding – occurred in Queensland at this same time in 2011.  Climate change is likely to make rare weather events such as these more common.

Read More: BBC News>>

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About the Author

Emily is a graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland with a B.A. in psychology. While in school, she spent her time leading environmental and social justice campaigns. She recently worked for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network as a grassroots organizer for a moratorium on natural gas fracking in Maryland.

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