How to get drought into the flood conversation




Mark talks to a storyboard which taps into his experience of working with farmers and discusses the ideas of farmers adapting their crops to warmer and drier climates. Farmers – in Mark’s experience – know the rainfall levels intimately but the changeable weather can mean the previous year’s stocking levels are inappropriate for the next. For Mark, this could be an opportunity to stimulate a conversation with farmers and point out what wet winters/dry summers mean strategically. For example, it could involve switching to a water strategy of ‘turning water into wine’ (out of livestock into grapes).

Ours is relating to how to get drought into the flood conversation, talking about resilience adaptation. We thought about a farming audience and really the idea of turning water into wine. So, you know, some of the water challenges might be turned into different kind of benefit if they were growing grapes, growing a crop that was more related to warmer climates and drier climates, so that was just the thought process behind it. We’re aware that through our conversations with Farmers, they are likely to be able to tell you, off the tip of their tongue, how many millimetres of rain they have or haven’t had since February and this year rainfall-wise it’s definitely below average. This year is in contrast to very productive years where the rainfall was above average and grass growth was above average. Some farmers were even talking about the way they were able to expand their herds in the last two years and are now having problems this year. So a real live situation. So we kind of thought, okay, well our illustration is related to silage bales and they produced more silage bales in the last two years than they did this year which is less than perhaps they make on average. And the point we’re making there is maybe we’ve got to cut our cloth and herd size and things like that.

What this may do is it gives us a live opportunity to use the data projections and to stimulate a conversation about this, you know, fallow year of plenty and the average year. And to point out what they might need to be thinking about going forward with real data, you know, wetter winters drier Summers and what that might mean and whether we can create light bulb moments with that conversation opportunity and lead someone to think very strategically about their water requirements in the future and their water strategy in the future in the medium and long term so that they star gaze. And actually what it might do is it might lead them down this path that says actually I’m going to come out of livestock and I’m going to go into grapes: water into wine.

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