The Big Dry

Prolonged drought threatens Australia's people, wildlife, and economy

By Emily Sohn, 15:57 PM April 15, 2008

Step off a plane almost anywhere in Australia, and one of the first things you'll notice is water—or rather, the absence of it. In every public bathroom in Melbourne, signs remind people to be sparing with the faucet. In Brisbane, short showers are required by law. And throughout southern Australia, everyone using a toilet is supposed to choose the alternate-flush option.

Australia is locked in a drought of drastic proportions. In recent years, rivers have reached record lows. Temperatures ha...

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