THE FESTIVEseason is gearing up to be a bleak and desperate time for Queensland farmers aswater levels in the Fairbairn Dam drop to 8.75 percent – the lowest level eversince the dam was built in the 1970s.
Fairbairn Damfeeds water to the Emerald Irrigation Scheme and to the Nogoa McKenzie dam.
“The situationis devastating,” said Neville Crook, a consultant at BM Agribiz.
“Permanentcrop growers are going to struggle to produce crops due to the water shortage,”added Crook who also owns a cattle farm and used to farm grapes and cotton.
“I’ve livedhere for thirty years and the irrigation situation is extremely serious,” saidCrook.
“We are in thefourth year of a serious drought. During the first three years of a drought itis possible to rely on dwindling water reserves but by the fourth year watersupplies are significantly reduced.”
While previousfloods in parts of Queensland such as Townsville delivered a deluge of waterthe run-offs have already evaporated and haven’t brought the necessarylong-term relief.
“In additionto facing severe economic losses due to the possible failure of crops, theprice of water has sky rocketed with desperate farmers forced to pay astronomicalprices for dwindling water supplies” said Crook.
The rainfallyear runs from July 1 to June 30 of each year.
During thatperiod farmers, towns and mines buy water capacity rights to Fairbairn Dam.
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