Drought Statement - Issued 5th April 2007


Statement on Drought for the 12-month period ending 31st March 2007
ISSUED 5th April 2007 by the National Climate Centre

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

Above average rainfall during March eased the severe dry conditions in parts of alpine Victoria. Dry conditions also eased in parts of northeastern NSW, but for the past twelve months, rainfall deficiencies remain evident in western WA, southern South Australia and across much of Tasmania to southeast Queensland.

For the 12-month period from April 2006 to March 2007, there are serious to severe rainfall deficiencies over southern and eastern Australia in a broad arc extending across southern SA, much of Victoria, much of southern NSW west of the Great Divide (apart from far western areas), and a large part of southeast Queensland. Northern and eastern parts of Tasmania were also affected as was WA west of a line from around Exmouth, inland around 150-250km and south to Bremer Bay. Record low 12-month falls were recorded between Dalby and Goondiwindi in southern Queensland, along much of WAs west coast and Tasmania's north coast, and in small patches from Melbourne to Canberra.

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

In comparison with the situation for the twelve months to February, areas of lowest rainfall on record shrank along and to the northwest of the Australian Alps from Melbourne to Canberra. However, these areas still remain in severe deficiency. Areas of lowest on record and severe deficiency have increased in parts of western WA, particularly around Carnarvon.

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:

David Jones on (03) 9669 4085
Lynette Bettio on (03) 9669 4165

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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