OLD HABITS: Water carting services helped out Warwick farmers at their most desperate, and the Southern Downs is reaching out for them once again.
OLD HABITS: Water carting services helped out Warwick farmers at their most desperate, and the Southern Downs is reaching out for them once again.

Carting on the rise as summer rain evaporates

SUBSTANTIAL rain was almost six months ago, and with dams running dry, farmers across the Southern Downs are once again making the heartbreaking choice to cart water in.

At Wade’s Water, Wade Hancock had seen inquiries slowly increase.

“The water delivery has crept back up since the rain, not as much as thought, but I expect if we don’t get more soon, they’ll be a bigger increase,” Mr Hancock said.

“It is getting pretty dry again.”

At the end of last year, when farmer’s “morale” was at its lowest, Mr Hancock said January rain had made everyone more “hopeful” for the year ahead.

Now he worries ongoing water security may be ignored, in the wake of coronavirus.

“I think everyone is feeling that way,” he said.

“Bushfires and drought — those have been a bit forgotten haven’t they?”

In the Granite Belt, winemaker Mick Bourke said winter wasn’t a huge concern for viticulturists, but without the guarantee of spring rain the industry could be looking down the barrel again.

In August of last year, the winery was paying $2,500 a week to cart in water.

“They’re saying the wet winter won’t be as wet as we thought,” Mr Bourke said.

“So we could be back to carting later on — it all depends on what happens from now to November.”

The news comes as Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrier feared producers were being left behind.

“We’ve been fighting for three years to be eligible for some drought assistance and we feel like we’re still in the dark on where it’s going to come from,” he said.



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