Australia. Yes, we have heard all about it. Beautiful landscapes, great biodiversity, and a paradise on earth for those who enjoy surfing. However, what most of us haven’t heard of is that Australia is facing one of their biggest battles against a very efficient opponent – salinity.

Now, if you haven’t heard of salinity before, I know what you’re thinking – How can salt be causing so many problems? Well, to answer that, we will first have to go through some basic concepts, so keep on reading, I will guide you through!

A few days ago, I was reading some articles when I came across this subject – salinity. The Australian Government describes it as being the accumulation of salt in land and water to a level that damages the natural and built environment. After reading about it, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know its causes. Its consequences. Everything! So, I went on and made some research myself. Apparently, the causes for this problem are, among others, the expanding amount of wastewater coming from urban areas and the increasing runoff coming from farms.

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Figure 1- Effects of salinity on waterways in Australia
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Although it is considered a global threat, some places seem to be being more affected than others. Well, it all depends on a whole variety of factors. In Australia, it is now thought that dry land salinity, which occurs when vast underground salt deposits rise to the surface with groundwater tables, could leave the productive farm lands that inhabit more than half of the country desolate. Estimations from the Federal Government accuse a loss on agricultural production of $130 million since the turn of the century!

Now, if this number doesn’t scare you, you might want to know that the government also puts a total of $143 million a year to solve salinity problems in the industry and commerce sector!

However, if you think the problem is only economical, you’re wrong! In fact, it is hard to put a price on the environmental damage caused by salinity. Nevertheless, it is known that increasing salinity in rivers, wetlands and water sources has been contributing to huge disruptions on ecosystems, causing death of several species that are sensible to even the most minimal changes in salt, and therefore, cannot adapt to the situation.

Even though Australia has always faced problems with salinity, it is thought that the increasing clearance of native vegetation to make way for crops and livestock is disrupting fragile groundwater tables and consequently causing an increase in salinity levels.

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Figure 2- Effects of salinity on waterways in Australia
Image retrieved from:

Will Australia be able to deal with this situation? To be honest with you, I don’t know. In fact, it seems hard due to the climate change as it also appears to have effects on salinity, not only in Australia, but worldwide, which makes it a threat to our food production and natural habitats.

If you made it this far in the blog, I would like to know your thoughts on this problem that seems to be spreading at a fast rate. Do you think other parts of the world will start suffering the same problem? And what would be the best way to deal with it? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Thanks for reading!

Last modified on: 10-07-2024