Drought Free for First Time in Decade

Heavy rains in Queensland, Australia, have transformed the usually red outback soil into lush green terrain with swollen rivers, ending a decade-long drought.

At its peak, the drought affected 88% of the state. Now, with Diamantina and Bulloo shires no longer under drought status, the entire state is drought-free.

The filled water holes, creeks, and rivers promise a strong 2024 for cattle and tourism, both key to the state’s economy.

“It’s remarkable how well the land here responds to rain,” said Mrs. Monique Betts, a rancher in the southwest, to ABC News Australia. “We can probably count on sufficient water for the next 18 months.”

“Our house dam was dry for most of last year,” she added, mentioning they were close to hauling water to the farm in tanks.

The cattle are already fatter, providing relief to ranchers who had been selling off their herds to avoid significant losses.

The slow-moving floodwaters of the Channel Country have spread across the flat region, greening it after late summer rains of about 150 to 300 millimeters.

82% of Queensland’s land is used for farming or ranching, with the driest areas in the south and west.

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