Listen: Hope 103.2 News Director Anita Savage talks to Katrina Roe about the drought. (Above: Aerial view of cattle mustering in NSW.)
By Clare BruceTuesday 15 Oct 2019
With recent rainfalls across Sydney, it’s all too easy for city-dwellers to lose touch with the drought that’s still very much gripping most of NSW and large parts of Australia.
Hope 103.2 News Director Anita Savage this week chatted to Katrina Roe about the extent of the drought, which is now being called the worst Australia’s recorded history.
The Bureau of Meterology has declared it worse than the WWII Drought and the Millennium Drought in 2000, and worse, too, than the Federation Drought that struck Australia at the turn of the 20th century 120 years ago.
NSW has officially been in drought since mid-2017, with 95 percent of the state now affected. The worst-affected areas of our state are the Hunter region, the Central West and Far West. Further north, large swathes of rural Queensland are also suffering.
“This is by far the worst drought our farmers have seen in their lives and they face a really tough summer if it doesn’t end soon,” Anita said. “Only really the Greater Sydney region and a little sliver of the state around the Snow Mountains are not affected.”
Water NSW, which manages the state’s rivers and bulk water supply, estimates that parts of regional NSW could run out of water as early as November.
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“Some towns in the state’s far north, when you turn on the kitchen tap nothing comes out – and they’re having to truck in water for everyday use,” Anita said.
“Dubbo, Cobar, Nyngan and Narromine… are expecting to lose water by November.”
“Under the worst case scenario, the first more sizeable towns to lose water supply will be Dubbo, Cobar, Nyngan and Narromine. They’re expecting to lose water by November.”
The Macquarie River is currently forecast to run dry within a month, with its water inflow currently sitting at one fifteenth of its normal rates.
In their conversation, Anita and Katrina discuss the economic and social effects of the drought, and what our governments are doing to support farmers.
Water Restrictions in Place, Charities Raising Funds
Sydneysiders are being reminded that despite the recent rain, our city’s water supplies are still low and we all need to conserve water, with Level 1 water restrictions firmly in place.
The restrictions apply to everyone in Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra regions. Rules include a ban on watering gardens with a hose between 10am and 4pm, and a ban on hosing down driveways and paved areas except for health, safety or emergency reasons. Washing of cars and bins is allowed, but only using buckets, hoses fitted with trigger-nozzles, or high-pressure cleaners.
While the government has support measures in place for farming communities, they are not enough, and numerous Australian charities are helping to meet the shortfall, with numerous fundraising appeals running. Head to the Hope 103.2 Help in the Drought page for a list of appeals you can support.