Olympian Libby Trickett and Warwick farmer Paul Maher discuss the realities of living with drought.
Olympian Libby Trickett and Warwick farmer Paul Maher discuss the realities of living with drought.

A YEAR ON: 150,000L helps farmers crippled by green drought

When the #finishwaterwaste initiative brought 1.9 million litres of water to the Southern Downs in 2019, Wildash farmer Paul Maher struggled to fight back tears of gratitude.

Now, a year and a further 150,000 litres later, Mr Maher said the uphill climb remained for many of Warwick's drought-riddled producers.

Mr Maher said he was still running with empty dams and a total stock count less than 50 per cent of his typical numbers.

"Things haven't changed a lot. We're still dry, we have dams here dry and the one I'm dependant on only has a month or so water left in it. It's just been rolling on for years and it's been getting harder and harder," he said.

"Since February, it's been 5, 8mms, those sort of falls. Some people will say 'well you've got a bit of green' but that's all it is. There's no growth in the grass."

 

The drought is far from over for Warwick farmer Paul Maher as he waits for the #Finishwaterwaste drop off.
The drought is far from over for Warwick farmer Paul Maher as he waits for the #Finishwaterwaste drop off.

Mr Maher's statement matches the reality for Rural Aid CEO John Warlters travelling nationwide.

"Until you tip it out of the rain gauge it hasn't happened," he said.

"2019 was a huge year for help and this year has been just as big. We've probably delivered more fodder to producers this year and I think that just reflects even in those areas that have had rain, it takes time to get those pastures growing and re-established.

"Recovery takes time."

Water drop off : Rural Aid CEO John Warlters discusses why drought support is still needed in South East Queensland
Water drop off : Rural Aid CEO John Warlters discusses why drought support is still needed in South East Queensland

 

The water being gifted is part of a record-breaking series of #FinishWaterWaste deliveries happening across Australia during National Water Week, seeing 1 million litres of water delivered during the week.

#FinishWaterWaste ambassador and Olympian Libby Trickett was also there with the Mahers, inspired to see the first-hand reality of living in drought.

"I think having children has instigated the desire to take care of our world as much as we can," she said.

"It's interesting talking to Paul and Monica because they take it as what they have to do. Whereas, if you took the same conditions to city life it would be really confronting for a lot of people."

 

Paul Maher empties the much-needed water into his tank.
Paul Maher empties the much-needed water into his tank.

 

She hoped the donation would encourage other to think twice about avoidable water waste through pre-rinsing or half-full dishwasher loads.

"It's hard stuff to see and feel and look at. For me, it makes me motivated to implement those really simple things," she said.