I have spent the last two days commuting between home and Turkey Creek, about 160km up the highway. The road goes over several bridges and river crossings all of which should be running with lots of water. They are all dry. On the way home today I diverted to the old Ord river crossing thinking I might cool off in the 40 degree heat. The river should have been two metres deep and flowing over the causeway, with barramundi waiting to be caught in the pools. Instead there was a narrow trickle of water barely deep enough to reach my ankles.
Normally at this time of year we do not plan trips out to the communities. The Tanami and Duncan roads are closed for weeks at a time as floods make the river crossings impassible. Communities such as Ringer Soak have been cut off for months at a time as the Sturt river changes from a dry riverbed to a kilometre-wide flood. This wet season I have been travelling both roads with no more problems than a few ruts and puddles. If a landscape that is usually parched for 9 months of the year is to be barely sprinkled in the so – called wet, it will mean a drastic change in the ecology.