Charity declares ‘emergency over’ after rain fills tanks
CHARITY water relief for the Southern Downs has been suspended as rain leaves rural residents feeling more financially optimistic.
Southern Downs Community Relief Group will halt distribution of free bottled drinking water after March 14.
Charity secretary Sally Edwards said the decision came after a two week consultation with tank-reliant rural residents.
"We're speaking to people and most have water in their tanks that they can filter and drink an said they wouldn't face financial hardship is we finished," Ms Edwards said.
"We never wanted people to be too dependant on what we offer.
"It was an emergency response and we don't consider it an emergency anymore."
The move comes as the charity was planned to vacate their current premises at the Warwick Showgrounds in time for the 2020 show but Ms Edwards said the suspension was a 'lucky coincidence'.
"We knew he had to give back the pavilion for the show and the Show Society has said their quite happy for us to stay after that but it has been a good time to make an exit now."
At last Saturday's distribution, only 70 families showed up to receive help, compared to a 300 household average before Christmas.
Ms Edwards said it was a testament to the difference the charity had made to get families back on their feet.
"People have been so grateful," she said.
"Last week we received flowers and chocolate thanking us.
"It feels so practical to offer some immediate help and there's a number of regular volunteers who have never done anything for the community before and this has been a real eye-opener."
Families still in need would now have to revert back to buying drinking water.
Ms Edwards also said it was unlikely the suspension would be a long-term move as drought persisted.
"It is only a temporary suspension because the drought is not over," she said.
"Once tanks are empty again we will ramp up."
The final distribution will run from 9-2pm tomorrow at the Kevin Thumpkin Pavillion.