Storying with Groundwater


  • Deborah Wardle


Subterranean waters enable life. Humans, non-human animals and enmeshed ecosystems of more-than-human entities, such as river and creek sides, mound springs and swamps, interact with groundwater in a myriad of complex relationships. Hundreds of Australian inland towns and communities rely on bore water. Population counts of people dependent on aquifers across Australia, on the Asian and African continents, in the Middle East and across the Americas reach into the billions. Despite this, there are few literary expressions of groundwater’s potency and vulnerability in the Australian imaginary (Wardle). This essay draws upon fictional portrayals of groundwater from the climate fiction manuscript, Why We Cry (Wardle), to suggest the ways that climate fiction might make a small shift from the ‘derangement’ of blindness to subterranean places through the novel’s endeavours to osmotically affect readers.