Shortly after I moved to Brisbane in June 2007 a little package appeared in our mailbox. It contained a polite letter explaining the civic need to conserve water in the midst of a severe drought and a 4-minute shower timer. Fresh off the boat from the USA, I was aghast that 1) The Government could dictate shower lengths; 2) they sent out hundreds of thousands of egg timers; 3) my housemates laughed and stuck it in the shower.
Recreational showering never held much joy for me, but 4 minutes? Honestly? To my surprise, I discovered I could thoroughly clean myself in the set time. The habit of 4-minute showers stuck with me long after we lost the timer.
The news at the time reported the capacity level of Wivenhoe Dam (primary reservoir for Brisbane) every night, and we listened with great interest. When the rains came, we triumphed, “Did you hear? Wivenhoe hit 56% capacity last night!”
Now Wivenhoe sits at 187% capacity, which means without controlled releases, the dam could burst. Remember me excusing stringy hair because of the rain? It’s been raining for six weeks. Soft, steady rain, not like the crashing summer storms of my childhood in hurricane alley. I didn’t expect flooding to come of such lovely kind rain. We took pictures for our holiday dresses the other day at a sunken garden near the river. I’m sure the flood swallowed it.
The controlled releases contributed to the flooding in central Brisbane- all that water had to go somewhere. I’m high and dry, if a trifle mildewed, and I ponder the difference between the days of 4-minute showers and the present state of “water water everywhere.”
Queensland’s vegetables, our fruit, the sugarcane and cotton crops, the cattle all decimated. My own happy tomatoes in the backyard rotted with fruit still on the vines. My husband reports grocery shelves stripped bare. Fruit and vegetable prices are set to increase 100%, and we hear constant warnings of flood-borne disease. Hello, Dengue.
The best news? Monsoonal rain forecast for the next several months.
I count my blessings and when the water starts to go away, I’ll grab a mop and see what I can do to help out. Expect follow-ups.
In an unrelated topic, here’s what I wore today:
I like the pieces together, my version of “vintage.” Most of it is hemp.