Dam we're dry: Water carters kept busy amid grim outlook
WITH just a 25 per cent chance of above median rainfall predicted for August through to October, Bundaberg is facing an agonising dry spell.
While lawns around town may look green, it's farmers and those on the land who are feeling the lack of moisture.
One man who is seeing the impact of drought first-hand is water carter Leslie Cullen.
Mr Cullen started his business in the region 14 years ago and this is the first year he's had to fill dams for anything other than aesthetics.
He describes the current weather situation as a "green drought", with just enough rain to blanket the city in a deceptively verdant hue.
"It's kept the grass green but nothing is getting into the water table or sinking down," Mr Cullen told the NewsMail as he oversaw the pumping of 43,000 litres of water into a Childers Rd dam.
"Everywhere, every dam is drying up, bores are drying up as well."
The last time Mr Cullen saw similar conditions was in 2006, but back then, it was mostly bores left dehydrated.
Now, his team at C & M Water Cartage are spending their days working from first light till nightfall and sometimes later delivering water across our dry land.
They've even had to hire a trailer to keep up with the extra demand for h20.
One project they're working on involves pouring three million litres of water into a farmer's dam over 10 days.
Mr Cullen's son Jono, who has been helping out during the busy period, says there's only so much that can be done without the heavens opening.
What the region needs, is rain.
The Bureau of Meteorology's report on rainfall this month is harrowing.
Halfway through the month, the region is nowhere near half the average rainfall for July.
"Bundaberg's average July rainfall is 38.8mm," a BoM spokeswoman said.
"So far it's received 4.2mm.
"Hervey Bay and Maryborough are similar, Maryborough's average for July is 49.9mm and they've had 11.8mm. Hervey Bay's average is 40.6mm and they've had 7.2mm."
Last month, the Bundaberg council area was drought declared, backdated to May 1.
A drought is classified as a prolonged, abnormally dry period when the amount of available water is insufficient to meet normal use.
Droughts are not classified by low rainfall, but abnormally low rainfall for a particular area.
Those who work on the land will be left hoping for the chance the region will see rain in coming months.
"For the farmers, their allocations have been cut back so their crops are not doing as well as they normally do," Mr Cullen said.