The Betts family relaxing after a dry 10 years was ended by recent rains – released Monique Betts

Incredible rains in Australia’s Queensland have turned the typical red of the outback soil into lush green terrain crisscrossed by swollen rivers, ending a decade-long drought.

At its height, the drought affected 88% of the state. But after Diamantina and Bulloo shires had their drought status changed, it means the number has fallen to zero.

With water holes, creeks, and rivers full, it spells a good 2024 for the cattle and the tourists, two staples of the state’s economy.

“It’s amazing how well the country within this area responds to rain,” Mrs Monqiue Betts, a rancher in the southwest told ABC News Australia. “You’d probably say you’re safe for maybe 18 months, especially water-wise.”

“Our house dam had been dry for quite a while… definitely the majority of last year,” she said, adding that they were on the cusp of having to bring water to the farm in tanks on their pickup.

The cattle have already fattened up, which is a relief since recently some ranchers have had to sell out of their operations to avoid losses that might be too much.

The water disperses across the flat region by slow-moving floodwaters in an area called the Channel Country. After receiving late summer rains of around 150 to 300 millimeters, the waters fanned out across the land, greening it as it went.

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It follows a year in which California was declared drought-free for the first time in three years, with the added bonus of a mild summer that didn’t bring about a new one, which in turn prevented any serious wildfires from breaking out.

82% of all land in Queensland is used for either farming or ranching, but the driest areas are in the ranchland to the south and west.

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