CHANGING PROCEDURES: Granite Belt Drought Assist volunteers with co-managers Glenda Riley and Barbara Marsden.
CHANGING PROCEDURES: Granite Belt Drought Assist volunteers with co-managers Glenda Riley and Barbara Marsden.

Coronavirus stops the spread of water donations on Downs

A MONTH since a decent pour and in the midst of a pandemic, water relief volunteers have been left scratching their heads over how they’ll make it through the dry season.

Russell Wantling from Granite Belt Water Relief is anticipating a concerning shortage in donations as people move to tighten their belts and stay indoors.

As conditions remain dry, he’s wondering how he can keep rural properties in supply of drinking water.

“The drought has for sure taken a back seat but it’s growing again and in a few weeks it could be serious and I don’t really know what we’re going to do,” he said.

“Obviously the biggest priority right now is keeping people safe but the drought hasn’t gone away, it’s a real worry.”

GBWR have closed for two weeks with water availble upon request while they work on making practices more hygienic.

Meanwhile, Granite Belt Drought assist will be open less frequently and offer a drive-thru service

“The need is still there, despite the fact we’re in a pandemic,” GBDA president Glenda Riley said.

“We’ll now make it so there’s more hygiene protocols in place and people can come and collect on Thursdays between 9am and 1pm.

“We’ve dropped hours to ensure our older volunteers remain safe.”

Mr Wantling said he hopes fresh council electives will ensure water security is front of mind despite the pandemic.

“I don’t have all the answers but I think if they work with us we’ll be fine,” he said.

“My primary concern right now is protecting our volunteers.”

The Southern Downs Community Relief Group closed its doors to donations last month.



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