A northwest Queensland mayor says his town desperately needs another dam built as the area’s water supply is running dangerously low.
Fears are mounting that a second northwest Queensland town could run out of water if this wet season fails to produce enough rain.
This week the mayor of the inland community of Cloncurry, near Mount Isa, said the town is planning for the possible evacuation of its population as water supplies run out.
Now the mayor of Mount Isa has joined the chorus of northwest towns requesting help as water supplies run dangerously low.
“I’ve lived in Mount Isa for 50 years – this is the lowest rainfall since records were kept,” Mayor Tony McGrady told AAP.
The nearest dam will be bone dry by April and the second will run out by January if there isn’t significant rain this wet season, he says.
Without more rain Mount Isa mines may have to reduce capacity which would hit the mining town hard.
Cr McGrady is urging the state and federal governments to consider building another dam at Mount Isa, and plans to raise the idea when he meets with senior public servants later this month.
Town folk are struggling with water restrictions but graziers in the area have been hardest hit by the drought, he says.
Cr McGrady welcomed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s announcement on Thursday that a drought assistance package for farmers will be brought forward to the first half of this year.
“When you see the plight of the people on the land in my area, probably nothing is too much for them because their whole lifestyle is destroyed … they see no end in sight,” Cr McGrady said.
Meanwhile, some councils are concerned a new state government emergency levy for rural property owners could makes things harder for struggling graziers.
Longreach Mayor Joe Owens says it was bad timing to introduce a levy when more than two-thirds of the state was in drought.
“Some people are a bit concerned they’re not going to get anything for their money,” he said.