News Friday, 27/12/2002

Water limits worsen in NSW -

In New South Wales, despite some good storms in the north-east corner of the State, water restrictions are still dictating life.

Every individual, from the cotton grower, to the backpacker by the beach, is being forced to watch every drop.

The Carr Government has added another five towns, to its list of 15, now totally reliant on water carting for their domestic supplies.

Georgia Bateman reports, the drought has severely limited plantings of the two main summer crops – cotton and rice. “The cotton crop is expected to be halved, and rice is also forecast to be down by a massive 70 per cent, which has the industry very concerned about its ability to meet the demand of overseas markets they’ve spent many years developing.

“The industry has set up a scheme to help finance rice growers into buying water to irrigate. But at the end of the day, the water is still limited.

“On the bright side we may still get a fair sized sorghum crop in the north, on the back of those storms in the past fortnight.”

She said water restrictions had effected rural lifestyles dramatically. “Most primary producers who are still trying to keep their core breeding stock going, water and feeding of livestock is a daily grind.

“Gardens, at worst have been handed over to poddy lambs, prized rams and bulls, and at best have just been let go, with not enough water to keep them going.”

She said inland, 15 communities were now totally reliant on carted water. But the lack of water was also effecting coastal, tourism focused communities.