Australia is over populated

1. Dec 30, 2007

wolram

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drought_in_Australia

Some members of the Australian environmental movement, notably the organisation Sustainable Population Australia, believe that as the driest inhabited continent, Australia cannot continue to sustain its current rate of population growth without becoming overpopulated. SPA also argues that climate change will lead to a deterioration of natural ecosystems through increased temperatures, extreme weather events and less rainfall in the southern part of the continent, thus reducing its capacity to sustain a large population even further.[27] In response to this, there are several movements and campaigns around the country which are advocating for environmental action. One such campaign is "The Big Switch", claimed as Australia's largest community climate change campaign. [28]

The UK-based Optimum Population Trust supports the view that Australia is overpopulated, and believes that to maintain the current standard of living in Australia, the optimum population is 10 million (rather than the present 20.86 million), or 21 million with a reduced standard of living.

10.86 million to many people living in Australia, well they can not move to the UK we are sinking in migrants.

Last edited: Dec 30, 2007
2. Dec 30, 2007

Gelsamel Epsilon

Not surprising since near all the world is overpopulated...

3. Jan 6, 2008

sysreset

I would call into question your conclusion. Visit Arizona, USA sometime, tour around, and come to your own conclusions as to whether is is overpopulated or sustainable. Then compare it to Australia. Arizona has 6 million people and an area of 300,000 sq km and is land-locked. The majority of the state has a very arid climate and high temperatures in the most populated areas are above 37 C for about 4 months per year. Australia has an area of 7,600,000 sq km and is surrounded by ocean.

Also, since water is the vital resource for population sustenance, wouldn't desalination technology be of any value to Australia?

Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
4. Jan 6, 2008

mgb_phys

Water? I thought in australia's case the limit was brewing capacity?

5. Jan 15, 2008

wildman

Arizona's large population is a temporary thing. We are pumping ground water like crazy. In a hundred years Arizona will be filled with ghost cities -- empty and silent. Arizona's population is way over carrying capacity of the land unless your future horizon is only a few decades.

6. Jan 15, 2008

mgb_phys

Arizona also has the advantage of a large river connected to the Canadian icefields at the other end. If Australia had say the Ganges flowing into it they would be better off.

7. Jan 15, 2008

mheslep

Unlikely. See this water usage per capita chart, showing usage dropped to ~190 gal/person/day by 2003, or 63% of 1989 levels in Albuquerque. The water delivery system in Phoenix has grown quite sophisticated, the control center looks like something from a Nuclear power plant. I believe Phoenix is now below 160 gallons/person/day.

8. Jan 15, 2008

wildman

You are right. Phoenix will do all right and so will Tucson since they have access to surface water (the Colorado for Tucson and the Colorado and the Salt for Phoenix). However the rest of the state will be ghost towns in a 100 years unless something changes. Phoenix and Tucson growth will soak up the water and that will be it for the rest of the state. Most of the state depends on ground water and it will disappear shortly. And as mgb said, Australia doesn't have the Colorado.

9. Jan 15, 2008

wolram

Looking at the drought monitor it seem several areas of the US are suffering

http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html

http://www.usda.gov/oce/weather/DroughtMonitor/index.htm

Drought is the leading hazard in economic losses each year in the United States. In the summer of 1999, a monitoring tool known as the Drought Monitor was developed to help assess U.S. drought conditions. The Drought Monitor is a collaborative effort between Federal and academic partners, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln National Drought Mitigation Center, the USDA/OCE/WAOB/Joint Agricultural Weather Facility, the NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC, and the NOAA/NESDIS/National Climatic Data Center. Produced on a weekly basis, the Drought Monitor is a synthesis of multiple indices, outlooks, and impacts depicted on a map and in narrative form. The Drought Monitor is released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
10. Jan 16, 2008

mheslep

No, no ghost towns. You missed the point. Water usage efficiency is improving dramatically throughout Az. Put down the Erlich and go read some Simon.

11. Jan 18, 2008

wildman

Then why is the San Pedro drying up? There is only so much ground water. When it is used up it is used up and it doesn't matter how efficient the water usage is. As long as the water use is greater than the recharge rate (which is very low in most of Arizona), the ground water will run out and hello ghost towns.

12. Jan 18, 2008

mheslep

Drought? Over use? I don't know. In any case, though the rive flow varies from year to year, the water never 'runs out' like it was a mined out gold shaft. People will learn to use the water more efficiently, or pipe some in from other sources, or tear up the golf courses, or switch from agriculture to other industries, or start capping new residents, whatever, ... Tucson probably actually could afford to have the San Pedro just vanish. (Not suggesting it be allowed to happen). Instead Tucson could pipe sea water the ~120mi from the Gulf and desalinate cheaply w/ solar or that 4GW of nuclear coming out of Palo Verde (largest nuke in the US).

The point of the above posts was that as long as there are good economic reasons for a town to exist and people enjoy the way of life there then it is not going to become a ghost town.

13. Jan 20, 2008

wildman

I guess you are right from strictkly a human point of view. I guess its kind of a personal thing for me. I love the lush forests of the San Pedro and upper Santa Cruz rivers and it is depressing for me to see the attitude of the developers who desire to destroy them.

14. Jan 16, 2010

Wassname

If you read the Wikipedia article on desalinization you can see that desalinization is not expensive for personal use. The article includes information about the cost ($0.5-$1 per cubic meter) and the plants installed for Australian cities.

The cost of desalinization has halved in the last decade, making it seem that it will decrease further. Of course the cost effectiveness of desalination for irrigation is different from personal use, since much more is used. So perhaps an argument can be made about the population that can be fed in Australia (if they would rather starve than rely on algae, rabbits, or gruel :p ).

15. Jan 16, 2010

joelupchurch

16. Jan 16, 2010

Staff: Mentor

17. Jan 16, 2010

SW VandeCarr

What river is that?? The Colorado River's highest source is in southwestern Wyoming.

http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/contracts/watersource.html

Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
18. Jan 16, 2010

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Does anyone here remember the Weekly Reader?

I remember reading about Australia's future water problem in the Weekly Reader, back around 1970. A proposal to build an artificial mountain range was discussed; this, to create a rain cycle. Funny enough, it [or a similar proposal] is still being kicked around.
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2000/10/20/201207.htm

19. Jan 16, 2010

SW VandeCarr

Where does all that dirt and rock come from? Would there be a 4km deep tench alongside the mountain range? Would the water run off into the tench? Would the tench hold the water or would it simply evaporate or be absorbed? In any case, it would be expensive to pump the water out of a 4km deep trench even if the water was 2km deep. What about the folks on leeward side of mountain? They'd get less rainfall. How about building a mountain out of trash and covering it with dirt and rock? We can call it Methane Mountain

Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
20. Jan 16, 2010

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I don't know that anyone has ever taken the idea seriously, but I do seem to recall that what we read about was a far more modest proposal. I even want to say it was more like a 1000 foot high hill, not a 4km high mountain.

Heh, the Weekly Reader is still around