Thursday, 5th March, 2020
By Callum Marshall
The Far West and surrounding regions have welcomed good rainfall over the last few days which, combined with flowing rivers, is providing some much needed water for the outback.
More than 100mm of rain poured down at Fowlers Gap, about 77km north of Broken Hill, from 11pm Tuesday night until 9am yesterday morning, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The area recorded a maximum 120.8mm from 7am to 9am yesterday morning, according to the Fowlers Gap weather station.
At Marrapina Station, 160km north of Broken Hill, Rainie Weston said the property had received about 65mm of rain and it was still showering yesterday afternoon.
The rains were so good, she said, the property had become like a little island.
“It’s the most rain we’ve had in four years,” said Mrs Weston.
“It only started yesterday (Tuesday) and it started with a thunderstorm. And quite often a thunderstorm is just over our house but this one ... went through several paddocks.
“Nobody can get in to visit us at the moment.
“But we’re pretty self-sufficient. It’s a nice island to be on for a happy occasion.”
Mrs Weston said the rains were a huge boost for the property.
“We’ve been feeding our stock for a long time and this means we can stay for a few more weeks and hopefully we’ll have green grass to take a bit of pressure off after a few very tough years.”
The Fowlers Gap rain was also incredibly welcome, she said.
“Fowlers Gap ended up with enormous rainfall which is even more exciting for us because all that water comes into our other property.
“In the next couple of days the two creeks at Nuntherungie and at Fowlers Gap will meet up on the selection and spread out together.
“The Nuntherungie Creek comes past our Marrapina house and the creek that comes out of Fowlers Gap (heads) into the selection.
“So they’ll meet and slowly spread out and flood some beautiful grounds.”
Still, she said, she’d love to see the rest of the region and drought-affected states get similar amounts of rainfall.
“I’d love to see it fill in for everyone within the Western Division and the drought areas of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland,” said Ms Weston.
“They’ve done it tough for far too long and they just want to see it fill in.
“This is not drought-breaking, we’ll need follow up.
“But the creeks are an added bonus for us.”
In Wilcannia, the town received a maximum of 45mm during yesterday’s early morning rainfall.
Wilcannia News Committee’s Paul Brown said he recorded about 40mm from his home weather gauge, adding that Tuesday’s rain was the best the town had seen since about mid-last year.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) was the big one - the airport was about 45mm and I think in town it looks like it was about 40-41mm, 42mm perhaps,” he said.
“It’s sort of eased off a bit during the day now.
“Yesterday morning, there were people walking in the street and taking about how lovely it was to walk in the rain.
“It wasn’t heavy at that stage, it was just before it started to get heavier.
“It would’ve been nice if the rain and the river arrived at the same time but it looks like the river’s just going to be a little bit behind it.”
With water from a flowing Darling/Baaka expected to reach Wilcannia soon, Mr Brown said he hadn’t seen it arrive in town by yesterday afternoon.
“I had a peep a little bit above town this morning and there was nothing within there at the time,” he said.
“There was a bit of rainfall water.
“Everyone’s waiting for it.
“They’re dead keen to see the rain and it’s certainly been lovely rain here in town because it’s soaking in rather than running off.
“So people in town will be very happy with it. Some of the properties they mightn’t be getting enough run-off into their dams themselves, which just depends on how much they get.
“I heard this morning that some of them got quite a bit of rain north of town.”
Further north in Wanaaring about 21mm was recorded by 9am yesterday morning.
At the Wanaaring Store and Caravan Park, Kathy Brown said the community was very happy about the rain event.
“Everybody’s happy because it’s just a nice flow ... it really soaks into the ground and everybody’s just being quiet and staying at home,” she said.
“We can’t get through to Bourke or anywhere else at the moment.
“But we had a good downpour on the weekend - we had 34mm on the weekend.
“This is the rain they’ve needed for some time now and it’ll give them a little bit of hope.”
From what she could gather, Mrs Brown said the rainfall was the best the region had seen for a while.
“I had somebody say to me ‘have you told anybody that you’re the golden luck charm?’ (because) we came down and here was the rain,” she said.
Mrs Brown, who does the readings for Wanaaring weather station added that the Paroo River levels were looking pretty good at the moment as well.
“We do the readings there every day as well at the moment,” she said. “BoM rings us and says ‘can you read the river for a little while?’
“It’s actually stable but we’re expecting it to go up anytime soon because there’s some flushes coming down from further up north.
“It took a little while to fill all the holes and then it went up to 2.24m so that was really wonderful.
“Now it’s just a beautiful colour because it was really black and stinky when it first came down.
“That’s all flushed through and it’s pretty exciting for everybody all around because the more rain we get the more water that comes out and fills up all the plains.
“Then it’ll keep rising and that’s where the farmers further down south need it.”