Years of drought have left the state government of South Australia feeling a bit too brittle for comfort. In fact, it just tipped its fiscal bucket by tens of millions of dollars to purchase water for next year. The state should be 61 billion gallons wetter for 2009-10, water security minister Karlene Maywald told the BBC.
Adelaide, a major city in South Australia, would suffer severely from further water scarcity. Citizens and cultivators in the Murray-Darling Basin — a region supplying almost half of the country’s food crops — already endure a dangerously low shortage.
Although Australia’s ABC reports that prices should rise by 20 percent, economists say consumer habits won’t change until the cost doubles. “We really are running the River Murray system on its last legs. We have a national crisis that needs very, very urgent action and one of the things that cities need to do is to secure supplies and the way the South Australian Government is going to have to do it to get supplies of sufficient quality is to go into market and buy water,” said Mike Young, government advisor and professor of water economics with the University of Adelaide.