Climate Change, Kalbar and Water (Part 1) by Ursula Alquier

Extracts from a Submission for EES on the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Mining project in East Gippsland for Farmers for Climate Action*

Rainfall in Victoria has declined in most seasons over recent decades, with the greatest decreases in the cooler seasons. Gippsland’s rainfall is naturally highly variable and this natural variability will dominate the rainfall over the next decade or so.

Over time, annual rainfall totals are likely to decline, particularly under high emissions, with the greatest drying in spring. By late-century under high emissions, the climate change trend becomes obvious compared to natural variability with a median of 15% decrease in annual totals, larger (29%) in spring.

The East Gippsland region will be impacted by climate change due to drier spring and summer periods and the threat of flooding, however due to the regions naturally high rainfall, it is extremely important that this productive food producing region is protected from mining projects like the one proposed.

Productive, viable farmland will decrease in other food producing regions, where more pronounced climate change impacts are being experience and have been predicted to worsen, making regions like these even more valuable as other regions will have a lower capacity to consistently produce food & fibre.

Rainfall in Victoria over the past 30 years (1989–2019) for the given months compares to every 30-year period in the historical record. For example, decile 1 (very much below average) shows areas where rainfall over the past 30 years is in the lowest 10% of all such 30-year periods in the full range of long-term records back to 1900 (BoM, 2019). To be continued.

*This is part of the Farmers for Climate Action Submission. The full paper can be accessed here. The author was a prominent organiser in Gippsland for the grassroots ‘Lock the Gate’ movement. I have blogged on the Kalbar proposals here and here. Ed.