Drought Statement - Issued 6th March 2007


Statement on Drought for the 12-month period ending 28th February 2007

Drought persists in western WA, southern SA & from Tas to SE Qld

Heavy rain during February eased drought conditions in parts of southern coastal NSW and far East Gippsland, but for the past twelve months rainfall deficiencies remain evident in western WA, southern South Australia and from Tasmania to southeast Queensland.

For the 12-month period from March 2006 to February 2007, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies affected southern and eastern Australia in a broad arc extending across southern SA, most of Victoria, much of NSW west of the Great Divide (apart from far western areas), and a large part of southeast Queensland centred on about Dalby. Northern and eastern Tasmania was also affected as was WA west of a line from Exmouth to Bremer Bay. Record low falls occurred in a strip from Melbourne to central NSW, between Dalby and Goondiwindi in southern Queensland, along Tasmania’s north coast and much of WA’s west coast.

The worst of the deficiencies are likely to remain for some time. For example, for them to be removed by the end of May, falls over the next three months would need to be in the highest 10% of the historical record in many areas, or at record high levels in some instances.

In comparison with the situation for the twelve months to January, deficits were eased or removed along parts of the southern NSW coast and in far East Gippsland.

The deficiencies discussed above have occurred against a backdrop of multi-year rainfall deficits that have severely stressed water supplies in the east and southwest of the country.

Rainfall deficiency maps for standard periods out to three years are available.

Note: The terms used to describe rainfall in these Drought Statements have the following meanings -

Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals
Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin

Very much below average - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals
Below average - rainfalls in the lowest 30% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 10%
Average - rainfalls in the middle 40% of historical totals
Above average - rainfalls in the highest 30% of historical totals, but not in the highest 10%
Very much above average - rainfalls in the highest 10% of historical totals

For more information regarding this rainfall deficiencies statement, please contact the following climate meteorologists in the National Climate Centre:

Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4527
Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4623

External Sites Relating to Drought

The Bureau of Meteorology does not make formal drought declarations as these are done by either the relevant State Governments or by the Australian Government. The Australian Government Program is called Exceptional Circumstances and it is administered by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). General information about Australian Government drought assistance is available at http://www.daff.gov.au/droughtassist.

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