Home

No simple answer to drought

Raelene HallMidwest Times
Wagin farmer Andrew Scanlon in a dry dam on his drought affected property earlier this year, with his wife Tegan and their daughters Lizzy, six months and Sophie, three.
Camera IconWagin farmer Andrew Scanlon in a dry dam on his drought affected property earlier this year, with his wife Tegan and their daughters Lizzy, six months and Sophie, three. Credit: Nic Ellis, The West Australian

The drought is ongoing and relentless, you have done all you can to save your stock and you don’t know where to turn next.

So who do you look to for help?

In many cases for people, particularly those in NSW suffering what must seem like an endless drought, it is the Federal Government they are calling on for assistance.

What that assistance should take the form of is at the core of numerous discussions and arguments.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

READ NOW

No one seems to have the perfect answer. Maybe because there isn’t one.

Even within one State the variety of farming and the issues surrounding drought are widespread.

The most urgent issue seems to be a lack of water and fodder to keep any remaining livestock alive but where is that water and fodder to come from?

Water is obviously scarce in drought areas, there are towns and regions that are running out of water, the rivers aren’t flowing. Likewise, feed is in short supply in many places.

Is transporting water from interstate a feasible option?

Certainly, feed can be transported but there are other States who are entering, or already in, a very dry period, which no one can predict how long it will go on for. These farmers too will be needing feed supplies to keep stock alive.

I thought perhaps the building of more dams would be a practical solution — and maybe it is.

But it seems to create a divide of those who agree and others who feel it is not helpful at all.

Regardless of opinion it is a State Government’s role to build infrastructure such as dams, not the Federal Government’s, though maybe they could help fund them.

While nothing other than rain is going to totally solve the drought issue, when it comes to governments, I believe that it is a lack of foresightedness going back many years that has led us to this point.

I won’t get into the climate change debate, but I think we need all governments to look to the future of the country and their State, and not just the term they have been elected for.

I can remember how hard Ernie Bridge fought to get water piped from the Kimberly to Perth, to no avail. Some still say it can’t be done.

Where would the Goldfields and other towns be now if CY O’Connor hadn’t done what most said was impossible?

If you need help, contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 and www.lifeline.org.au; or MensLine Australia at 1300 78 99 78 and www.mensline.org.au.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails