Australian Thieves Steal 80,000 Gallons of Water

“Mad Max: Fury Road” might not be science fiction any more

Australian heatwave
A state of emergency was declared in Australia's most populated region on December 19, as a record heat wave fanned unprecedented bushfires.
PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Historically, heists have generally involved large quantities of cash, gold or jewelry. But lately, the idea of what constitutes a heist has expanded somewhat: there’s been a maple syrup heist now, for instance. And recent news from Australia suggests another dimension for heists — one that has particularly ominous connotations for the environment. 

At Earther, Matt Novak has the details. The theft took place in Evans Plain, a small town located in New South Wales, Australia. Australia is currently in the midst of record-breaking heat, with New South Wales being particularly affected by it. And that’s what makes the target of this theft so unnerving: it wasn’t to steal money or valuables. Instead, the thief or thieves targeted one farmer’s water supply: 80,000 gallons of it. 

For readers who’d like to visualize that, this tank — 18 feet in diameter and 40 feet high — holds 80,000 gallons. So, you know, it’s a lot. 

Novak notes that this isn’t the first high-profile theft of water in recent weeks. “It’s becoming more and more common to see thieves targeting water storage facilities, as climate change continues to devastate Australia as it heads into summer,” he writes. 

And, yes, this does sound like the plot of numerous dystopian films and novels, from Mad Max: Fury Road to Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel The Water Knife. If you’re looking for a particularly unsetting window on how climate change might affect society, look no further.

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