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Water store critical

Thursday, 24th May, 2018

An aerial view of two dams at Mt Gipps Station. PICTURE: Supplied An aerial view of two dams at Mt Gipps Station. PICTURE: Supplied

By Myles Burt

Graziers in the Far West are praying for rain as the ongoing drought takes more and more water out of property dams.
Mt Gipps Station owner Kim Cramp said one of their two dams used for general household needs and stock water was sitting at three feet deep, while the other was virtually empty.
“It’s getting desperate, we just need some rain,” said Ms Cramp.
“We bought this place in 2006 and that tank never went dry until 2014, and it’s been dry twice since,” she said.
“From 2006 and 2009, even though it was drought then, we always managed to be under a heavy shower or something.”
Ms Cramp said over 2010 and 2011, Mt Gipps experienced a very wet period which filled up all their property tanks and even the surrounding swamp lands constantly for 12 months.
But the weather hasn’t yet swung back in favour of graziers.
“We just haven’t had a heavy rain,” she said. “We’ve had little showers and that, but never heavy enough to run water in the last few years.
“Our knees are nearly worn out from praying.”
Ms Cramp said even though Mt Gipps has been hit pretty hard with water shortages, other graziers were under worse conditions.
“Everyone’s in the same situation, I think there’s so many more people probably worse off than we are,” she said.
“Some of them haven’t got any water at all in their house tank and are carting water.
“That’s just so they can have a bath and wash their clothes.”
Mt Gipps is fortunate due to bore water supplies compared to other stations that have none or are too salty for agricultural use.
“You could almost drink most of our bore water, we must be just in a good area,” said Ms Cramp.
“I got a brother who lives between Wilcannia and Ivanhoe and they just have water saltier than the sea in their bores.”
“Needless to say they’ve sunk a few bores but they’ve never used them because it’s just too salty.”
Wildlife such as kangaroos and emus have been looking very poor, according to Ms Cramp. They are constantly looking for water and grazing lands.
“Wherever there’s a little bit of water, there’s hundreds of kangaroos in the evening hanging around the water just for a drink,” she said.
“They’re all pretty desperate for a drink and feed.”
Graziers under such conditions are now just focusing on the intense task of keeping their stock healthy and at a good weight for sale, according to Ms Cramp.
They’ve seen a major influx in trucks travelling through Corona Road on their station, where properties are selling off large quantities of stock.
“We have just seen stock truck after stock truck going out of this area for around six or seven months,” said Ms Cramp.
“Cattle and sheep have been trucked out of here every day I’d say.”
“Once people have gotten rid of their stock, then I guess they’ll just have to probably sit tight and wait for the rain.”
“Then they’ll madly buy sheep back if they can.”

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