Yesterday, before the rain set in, our spring-fed dam (pictured above) was empty.
I use the term “spring-fed” loosely, as the dam is recharged slowly by seepage from surrounding waterlogged soil, and an occasional flooding downpour.
The dam is located in a gully in the upper settled Huon.
In my 10 years on the property it has never before dried up, and has mostly remained full.
A reliable dam located below it was low too, so the low water is not caused by leaks.
The last two summers seemed to remove most moisture from the ground.
Globally, data shows it is getting windier and warmer, which assists evaporation.
Anecdotally, it seems to be getting windier and warmer on our property.
We have had 40C days and the pasture around the dams started cracking.
Fortunately, we are now having the famous Huon winter drizzle.
Drizzle does the vital job of soaking the ground.
Short, hard rains on dry soil tend to just run off.
Downpours of the past two years failed to raise the dams much.
My first year here, the ground became so sodden from drizzle that some concreted-in timber fence posts leaned over.
Given how dry the deeper soil is now we will need a few days of drizzle to get things back to the way they were.
Tasmania’s fire website has shown that soil and fuel dryness the past two years has likely worsened bushfires.
“People once only needed one water tank around here, but not any more,” the water delivery man told me last year.
The climate is changing, but for now, hopefully the rain will hang around a while.
Global trends suggest this coming summer will be warmer and windier.
As the northern hemisphere swelters through its summer, Siberia is again experiencing extended hot periods, heat records, and is on fire.
Fire prep on our Huon property continues even as the drizzle and pea-souper fogs roll through.
EDIT: Hobart’s Mt Wellington received about 250mm of rain over June 21-22. In the Huon, the pastures now seem soaked, I’ll dig down into the soil for a look some time this week.