Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Drought and electricity

Our news is full of our drought - worst in 100 years / 1000 years. We've had six years of drought. In Sydney our dam levels are 40%, in the Central Coast they are 12%. It seems dire and we're all worried. The politicians are blaming each other in usual fashion.

But we have plenty of electricity. The trouble is that NSW electricity is produced by burning coal and that throws CO2 into the atmosphere - and that is a major greenhouse gas causing global warming. And THAT brings us back to drought. Maybe this isn't a drought - maybe it is the new 'normal' weather.

Pete – more about him later!

Tanzania and the other East African countries are gripped by severe drought too. Some people are living on food aid. Major dams are empty and huge lakes like Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika have low water levels.

Tanzania hasn't been producing electricity by coal and dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, but they are suffering the effects. In fact, they are suffering doubly, because the use hydro electricity powered by water in the dams. Earlier this year, dam water levels fell too low to produce electricity so the country has had power rationing (i.e. blackouts) for 12+ hours a day.

Now THAT will put a dent in the productivity of business! Of course there was a rush on generators and the prices went up.

Can you imagine trying to run a school when suddenly it is announced that there will be no electricity next week! Well School of St Jude struggled for a while with the small generator they had. Then the call went out through the school's support networks. Within months the School had two big generators. One was bought by a generous donor and the other was funded by A group of Rotary Clubs.

The School finds a use for everything that is given. In the same container as the two diesel generators, the head builder, Pete, was delighted to discover a motor driven cement mixer, wheelbarrows, ladders and armfuls of gardening and building tools! That was him at the top of this blog - smiling right at you!

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