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Water crisis: 'Every day it's getting worse'

HOME AND HOSED: Blu-Water employee Rowan Weir collects more water for his deliveries around the Northern Rivers after residents wait in dire need of rain to fill their tanks.
HOME AND HOSED: Blu-Water employee Rowan Weir collects more water for his deliveries around the Northern Rivers after residents wait in dire need of rain to fill their tanks. Marc Stapelberg

AS TEMPERATURES skyrocket and rain is something of a myth, tanks are drying up around the region.

Waiting times for household tank water is easily up to five weeks as the dry weather continues.

Owner of Alstonville Blu-Water, Tony Axisa, has had to double his staff and put on extra trucks to try and keep up with the demand.

"The guys are getting close to their daily driving limits to be able to do this - we are working 18 hours a day," Mr Axisa said.

More than 70 phone calls were made to Blu-Water yesterday morning and 65 the day before.

"Every day is getting worse because the people cannot get on to anybody to deliver water sooner. I'm trying to help the ones that are really desperate - those who haven't got water are on the priority list," he said.

"I'm taking bookings but I am up to nearly the end of October at the moment."

Due to the lack of rainfall, he said "every couple of days you can add a week to the lead-time".

"If we don't get rain for two weeks I wouldn't be surprised if there was a six to seven weeks lead-time before they can get water."

The last time we had decent rain was June and Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jake Phillips said temperatures would dramatically increase as a significant dry air mass sticks around.

"Friday and Saturday temperatures will be nudging well into the 30s... 10 - 12 degrees above average for this time of year," Mr Phillips said.

Since requests ramped up three weeks ago, Alstonville Blu Water estimated they had been delivering 130,000 litres of water a day on average.

"People who ordered then, are now ringing back up requesting three to four loads at a time...they don't want to wait five weeks to get water."

Their water supply comes from Rous town main water supply, and have had their trucks recently inspected for food-grade quality water supply.

But he said in desperate times, other carriers were "pumping out of dams and creeks just to keep up with the demand".

He said since starting seven years ago this was the most extreme time yet.

" This is outrageous, I've never seen it like this before," he said.

"People are going on holidays, staying in caravan parks just to have showers."

He said people needed to be conscious of their water usage to minimise waste in the drought period.

Topics:  dry weather rain water weather


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