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Farmer: dry conditions 'worst I've ever seen'

HARSH CONDITIONS: Glastonbury farmer Steven Waugh said the combination of dry conditions and heat was devastating.
HARSH CONDITIONS: Glastonbury farmer Steven Waugh said the combination of dry conditions and heat was devastating. Renee Albrecht

DECLARED in drought over the weekend, one Gympie farmer is calling the arid conditions the worst he's ever seen.

The combination of extreme heat and little rainfall has left the outer reaches of the region under heavy water restrictions, and severely hurt local farmers.

Under the conditions, Farmer and Sun owner Steven Waugh said it would take about 200mm of rainfall to bring relief to farmers.

Unfortunately, he said it was also a case of being careful what you wish for, as receiving it all in one event could be catastrophic.

"It'd be a relief to get a lot of water but also it would also wreck a lot of crops."

While the official record says 114.4mm of rain has fallen since the start of the year, Mr Waugh said his farm had received even less.

READ MORE: BIG DRY: Gympie officially in drought

"I don't keep records but I wouldn't say we've even had 100mm.

"We've only had dribs and drabs."

While he has been through droughts before, he said this one was particularly painful due to the soaring temperatures.

"This is the worst one I've ever seen," Mr Waugh said.

"It might have been drier back then but it's a lot hotter this time.

"There is a difference between the heat and the dry.

"If you get dry weather and you get 30 degrees it's not so bad.

"If you get dry and 38, 40 degrees it's devastating."

Gympie state MP Tony Perrett echoed Mr Waugh saying this summer's soaring temperature had played a significant role in the drought conditions.

"Those extreme temperatures have evaporated any surface water that's been around."

 

These issues wont go away and ridiculous Government policies are detrimental to everyone  Gympie MP Tony Perrett
These issues wont go away and ridiculous Government policies are detrimental to everyone Gympie MP Tony Perrett Renee Albrecht

Without the run-off, farmers are being left with a severe lack of water for their cattle.

"They're all telling me they've got empty dams on their property which is highly unusual for this time of year."

The last drought the region had lasted 13 months, declared on March 1 2014 and not lifted until April 30 2015.

While Gympie had been through a few, Mr Perrett said it was hard to pinpoint any one drought as being worse than others.

The ones which were caused by a lack of water, though, were the ones which stuck in his mind.

READ MORE: Drought hits region's rural road network

"That's the worst case scenario when you start to lose stock due to poor conditions, and I know that's happened in this region."

Mr Perrett said it was important to consider the emotional impact droughts had, not just the financial.

"There's nothing more stressful than seeing a paddock full of cattle that are losing condition."

While the drought declaration will allow farmers to access government funding, a spokewoman for Gympie Regional Council said current water restrictions will remained unchanged.

At present, Level 4 water restrictions are in place in Kilkivan, Goomeri, Kandanga, and Amamoor.

Under these restrictions, garden watering is allowed by odd numbered properties on odd days of the week and even numbers on even days of the week, between 4pm and 8am with buckets only; grass watering is banned.

 

Sprinklers are strictly prohibited under Level 4 water restrictions.
Sprinklers are strictly prohibited under Level 4 water restrictions. schulzie

There is also a total ban on car and house washing (except cleaning car windscreens, mirrors and registration plates to comply with traffic regulations), as well as commercial water carters sourcing from the local reticulated network, and also on the filling or topping up of swimming pools.

Non-residential users are required to have at least three water efficiency measures in place, and users over 1ml per year are required to have a water efficiency plan in place to access the reticulated water supply. Level 5 restrictions will not be imposed until water storage in these areas falls under 10%.

In Gympie, Level 1 restrictions are in place.

Sprinklers can be used before 8am and after 4pm by even numbered properties on even days of the month, and odd numbered properties on odd days.

They will remain so until Borumba Dam drops below 50%.

 

Level 4 and Level 1 water restrictions are in place across Gympie.
Level 4 and Level 1 water restrictions are in place across Gympie. Contributed
Gympie Times

Topics:  council drought dry dry conditions farmers gympie gympie regional council water restrictions


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