Rain has been a welcome change for many farmers in rural regions.
Rain has been a welcome change for many farmers in rural regions.

There is only one way to solve the drought

FIREFIGHTERS, farmers, and just about everyone else across the region, rejoiced at something not seen for months: heavy downpours of that magnificent gift called rain.

The measurements have varied greatly, from a few drops here to more than a few inches there.

It’s not enough to end the drought, but for one grey and drenching moment, strong rain doused the dry earth. And the dried-out gardens. And the dusty streets.

For many, the excitement could not be contained.

Last year, Australia experienced its hottest and driest year on record.

One day of rain does not erase decades of data predicting that Australia’s fire seasons would do exactly what they have done this year — become longer and more intense.

But let’s not confuse isolated weather patterns with long-term climate trends.

Cash injections are flowing to drought-affected regions and families, and long-term funds will hopefully improve infrastructure.

But no magic cash splash is going to fix it.

The government cannot make it rain.

And the government can’t make life as it were before the drought.

So we spend money, pray for silver bullets and hope for a decent plan to arrive.

But rain is the only way to solve the drought.

In a country prone to drought and flooding rains, we need a strategic approach to preparing, managing and recovering from the drought.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has deployed envoys and held summits; the Commonwealth has tried to co-ordinate relief efforts with the states and local government.

While this isn’t going to break the drought, it is a start.

Even in the places getting the most rain, the message to the heavens is still clear: keep going.