El Nino affects Australia in different ways, and has been the cause of major droughts throughout the country. El Nino and La Nina are caused by shifts in atmospheric circulation due to sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, prevailing trade winds affect the movements of tropical rainclouds and this results in shifts in rainfall, reduced rainfall or drought conditions.
Efforts on Water Conservation
The National Plan for Water Security was tasked with tracking and evaluating Australia’s water resources after the Millennium Drought and various measures are in place. Desalinated water sources have become common in major cities.
With 360 desalination and water recycling plants, the total water production is currently at levels higher than Melbourne’s annual water consumption for 2012-13. Drier and hotter weather conditions in 2012-13 caused water supply demand increases of 3 percent to Australian properties, with obvious impacts on water bills. These increased water bills are likely to be one continued factor in the battle to ensure sustained access to water across the continent.
Reducing Water Consumption
Although El Nino results in drier weather conditions, flooding and heavy rainfall still occurs at local levels. One way householders and businesses can help to reduce water use over the longer term is with rainwater harvesting. It’s an easy task to fit rainwater tanks to collect run off water from gutters and downpipes, giving any property owner the ability to collect rainwater and save money.
This is a sustainable option for anybody with a keen interest in environmental conservation, the added benefit of increased water during drier months is always a useful feature, whether or not drought conditions arise through results of El Nino.
What is El Niño and what might it mean for Australia?, Bureau of Meteorology
As El Niño bites, it’s time to take stock of our water, The Conversation, November 2, 2015