WE’RE HERE: The Granite Belt Water Relief team have quashed concerns that water won’t be available to rural families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WE’RE HERE: The Granite Belt Water Relief team have quashed concerns that water won’t be available to rural families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Water relief groups quash pandemic access concerns

AS long as rural families need water, Russell Wantling said Granite Belt Water Relief will get it to them.

“We’re in a pandemic yes, but water will always be an essential service and we’re here for the people who need it,” Mr Wantling said.

As COVID-19 measures increased over the past week Mr Wantling said he’s received dozens of calls from concerned rural residents reliant on the service.

“I get the calls daily, making sure we’ll still open and people are anxious,” he said.

“I don’t think people realise how many rural families are reliant on us and how concerned they are.”

Mr Wantling said he wanted to quash any concerns as he has checked with the appropriate authorities that the service can remain open.

But Glenda Riley, President of Granite Belt Drought Assist said operations will close while she seeks clarity.

“I believe we are an essential service but when you look at the criteria we aren’t a charity that works with the homeless or supports domestic violence victims,” she said.

“I’m not criticising it’s just how they’re thinking, it’s very city centric and they haven’t considered a regional place like us are still in drought.

“So we’re just closing while we seek that clarification.”

The group have written to MP James Lister and Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young.

“It’s not a decision we’ve made lightly but it’s also for the benefit of our volunteers,” she said.

“At this point we’re not sure when we’ll open but we are still available for emergencies.”

“We gave out 50,000 litres this morning and the demand will only grow form here,” Mr Wantling said.

“And we’ll be there for them.”