Monday 30 December 2019

How Sydney has fallen victim to drought

'Absolutely bone dry': The 

Sydney duck ponds that have 

fallen victim to the drought

29 December, 2019
Signs of drought have spread from rural Australia to city parks, with beloved duck ponds drying out in Sydney and Parramatta in the grips of searing summer heat.
The water in Domain Creek pond - more fondly known as the Parramatta duck pond - is almost entirely gone, evidence that the drought is not just affecting those who live in rural Australia.
The Domain Creek pond in Parramatta has dried up due to lack of rain.
The Domain Creek pond in Parramatta has dried up due to lack of rain.CREDIT:RHETT WYMAN
Meanwhile, much of the pond in Centennial Park has transformed into a hardened cracked surface.
City of Sydney councillor and former federal MP Kerryn Phelps said cities were now seeing more signs of inaction from both sides of politics on climate change that should served as a "wake up call".

"Dried up ponds and waterways are signs that the city is seeing signs of environmental stress. This should be a wake up call," she said.
"Australia needs to take a careful look at water management and the philosophy of trading water as a commodity and not preserving water supplies."
A father and son take photographs of the dry lake bed of Busby Ponds in Centennial Park in Sydney on Saturday.
A father and son take photographs of the dry lake bed of Busby Ponds in Centennial Park in Sydney on Saturday.CREDIT:COLE BENNETTS
The Parramatta Park Trust has attributed the dryness to the long period without rain and acknowledged the amenity of the park, popular with local families, has suffered as a result of the barren duck pond.
One of those families is Kellie Darley's. Having lived in the area for five years, Ms Darley, who regularly takes her two children to the park, noticed the water in the pond diminishing.
"What's weird is that there have been periods where it is completely flooded," she says. The pond was full a few months ago but "now it is absolutely bone dry".
Ms Darley says it is a reminder we need to place more value on our water.
"It really brings home the impact of the drought," she says. "In terms of lack of water supply, to me, that's been the most obvious impact that it has had."
The Domain Creek pond in October 2017.
The Domain Creek pond in October 2017.CREDIT:ISHANYA MOODLEY
Former Premier Nathan Rees who frequently visits the park said the duck pond had been poorly managed and appeared to have been recently drained to flush out an adjacent creek which had become clogged with debris.
When asked about the state of the duck pond, Parramatta Lord mayor Bob Dwyer told the Herald: "It is up to all of us to do our part to ensure we are using water sustainably."
As for the ducks, most have migrated to the nearby Parramatta River. Others wander aimlessly around the empty pond.
Since the start of December, Parramatta has received 1mm of rain, the Bureau of Meteorology reports. In the past three months, it has received 62.8mm, around a third of the amount that has fallen on the Sydney Botanic Gardens (176.8mm).
Parramatta Councillor Phil Bradley said the ducks that have moved to the river would struggle to find the necessary food sources they usually found at the pond, adding that the dried-up pond will affect the ecosystem as a whole.
The Domain Creek pond in the mid-1900s.
The Domain Creek pond in the mid-1900s.CREDIT:NSW STATE ARCHIVES
"Even if the pond was to refill soon, it would take years for the duck’s food sources to re-establish themselves in the pond,” he said "This will be detrimental to all Parramatta birdlife."
NSW MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich said intense climate conditions were having "a very visual impact across Sydney and NSW".
"This is another warning that we need to do more to address climate change," he said

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