The Drought's Impact On Rural Communities

Greg Armstrong
Greg Armstrong
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There is no doubt that the current drought is having a serious impact on rural communities throughout eastern Australia from Victoria to Queensland and all points in between. It seems that the resilience and persistence of those communities, while well proven from previous droughts, is being sorely tested to levels which are difficult to quantify in both economic and human terms with this current event. It truly is a bugger of a drought.

The release of recent Water NSW data paints a scenario where without good rains, the Lachlan River is predicted to run dry by March 2020, leaving the towns of Cowra, Forbes and Parkes without water supply.

This data also has Water NSW predicting that, in the absence of significant rain the Macquarie River will run dry by November 2019, leaving the towns of Narromine, Nyngan and Cobar and Dubbo City without water supply.

While many rural local governments have Drought Management Plans for their respective local government areas, such plans generally do not extend to non-reticulated areas and limit the supply at public watering places and standpipes. A management plan is a means of identifying the risks associated with continuous water supply and ensuring that water can be delivered to consumers even in times of network distress or reduced supply capability.

Water for the townships of Harden Murrumburrah and Young is supplied by Goldenfields Water and is sourced from the Murrumbidgee River below Lake Burrunjuck.

The villages of Koorawatha, Bendick Murrell and Wirrimah are supplied water by Cowra Shire Council, with water sourced from the Lachlan River.

Water for the Boorowa township is supplied from a groundwater bore and town weir located on the Boorowa River.

While there is no prediction for the Murrumbidgee to suffer the same “run dry” fate as the Lachlan and Macquarie, clearly any such situation with the Lachlan River will have effects that would be directly felt in the Hilltops local government area.

I encourage all members of our broader community to retain the water wise approach that they have adopted over past years and to save water wherever possible. Have a great weekend and hopefully we will have some rain on the horizon.

– Councillor Greg Armstrong

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