Southern Downs Community Relief Group Merv McKenny, Sally Edwards, Don Hughes, Janet Schultz, Ros Keim, Margaret Bennett and Diana Carpenter.
Southern Downs Community Relief Group Merv McKenny, Sally Edwards, Don Hughes, Janet Schultz, Ros Keim, Margaret Bennett and Diana Carpenter.

Drought relief sees sunny side of rainy day

THERE was a spring in the step of rural residents collecting their weekly water allotment from the Southern Downs Community Relief Group in Warwick today.

Between 27 and 160mm of rain was recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology across the Southern Downs region on Friday evening.

It was a welcome boost to the dams, tanks and spirits of the 167 people who turned up to the Warwick showground.

“Everybody walked in with a smile because there’s finally been some rain,” said volunteer Ros Keim.

“You can really see the difference on people’s faces: They’re still getting water, but they aren’t sad about it.”

Southern Downs Community Relief Group Sally Edwards, Janet Schultz, Ros Keim, Diana Carpenter and Margaret Bennett
Southern Downs Community Relief Group Sally Edwards, Janet Schultz, Ros Keim, Diana Carpenter and Margaret Bennett

Volunteers laughed as they recalled the stories of rural residents relishing the rare, rainy weather.

One Maryvale couple had to ride their horses through the mud to reach their property gate, because the cars couldn’t get through.

Another woman told them of her 12-month-old puppy, who rolled around with the joy of experiencing rain for the first time.

Organiser Sally Edwards said this was the silver lining of drought: The community and friendship forged through adversity.

“It’s a very positive thing to be involved with,” she said.

More than 8000L was distributed to residents today who, despite the welcome change in weather, remained in desperate need of potable water.

“The trouble is the tanks are dirty,” Mrs Edwards explained.

“The rain takes all the muck off the roof so they still can’t drink it.”

The warehouse, loud with the sound of rain on the roof, lay largely bare after the morning distribution.

Two truckloads of donations had been unable to make it through Cunninghams Gap, due to localised flash flooding over the highway, leaving only one day of supply remaining.

The organisation hopes to see the trucks arrive in the coming days, as they have plans to deliver water to smaller towns, saving people the long drive into town.



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