In July 2023, the World Meteorological Organisation, an agency within the United Nations, officially declared an El Niño. For most of Australia, this typically brings hotter and drier weather, with increased risk of droughts as well as bushfires. At time of writing, the Australian government is yet to declare El Niño, it is expected
to do so in the coming weeks.
The dual threats of water scarcity and increased risk of bushfires represent a genuine threat for production nurseries in the near future.
The possibility of another drought or low-water event is a direct threat to the industry’s future prosperity which may be compounded by changes to water policy at national, state and local levels. If cost and scarcity of water increase, it will become even more critical for production nurseries to make most efficient use of available water and minimise waste.
At the same time, bushfires are typically more likely during El Niño, and through the nature of our industry, production nurseries are vulnerable. Volatile fuels such as grass, fallen leaves and bark heighten the risk of bushfires and, machinery, vehicles and power tools could be ignition points for fires.
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