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Heaps of water = heaps good

Heaps good is a saying down here in South Australia that I’ve grown to like during my year here. And, one thing’s for sure. All the rain that Australia has received this year is certainly heaps good. The amazing thing is that the rain seems to have hit just about every single part of Australia (with a few exceptions, like Tasmania I think, which is quite strange).

But, the Murray-Darling Basin, an area that’s been in drought for at least the past 10 years, was flooded back in September. South Australia has received water, many different parts of Queensland. I think Brisbane might currently be worrying about flooding, and earlier in the year, large parts of Queensland flooded. So much water fell, that Lake Eyre filled, which is something that can happen as rarely as once every 40 years! What’s even more incredible is that central Australia itself received so much rain that birds aren’t even congregating at Lake Eyre. They have their pick of watering hole, and can even have their own private one, since there are so many substantial puddles of water.

We learned that speaking with some people who had driven up through Australia from the south all the way up to Kakadu in the north, following the Ghan train tracks the whole way (apparently, there is a service road on the side). When Lake Eyre floods, usually one of the coolest things to do is to get a flight over it to see all of the birds. But, not this year! Indeed, when we were in central Australia, it rained on us — a lot. We even got stranded on the opposite side of a river from our tents when heavy rains caused a river to rise quickly, flooding the road. Rivers run so rarely in central Australia that roads are designed the for rivers to flow straight over them (no culverts or bridges). So, when they do flood, oftentimes you can’t cross, and are stuck on one side of the river!

Although some are complaining, most people are thrilled to have the rain. In South Australia, the Lower Lakes (an area that is the subject of vigorous political debate) where the Murray River runs out to the ocean, finally reached the ocean again last week after not having done so for quite some time. Dams are filling back up (I visited one last weekend, and the women I was with kept talking about how they hadn’t seen their reservoir that full for such a long time). Who knows how long the rains will last, but I think Australia is happy to take it while it’s coming. At least that’s what I tell myself when I get stuck in the rain on days like today. Water indeed is heaps good.

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