WORKING TOGETHER: An agreement between the SDRC and Granite Belt Water Relief will see residents continue to have access to free water.
WORKING TOGETHER: An agreement between the SDRC and Granite Belt Water Relief will see residents continue to have access to free water.

Carting partnership saves Southern Downs charity

RURAL residents across the Granite Belt will continue to have access to free water after an agreement between the Southern Downs Regional Council and a prominent charity.

A unanimous decision was made at Wednesday’s council meeting to allocate Granite Belt Water Relief 44,000 litres of water per week to distribute to residents.

The assistance, through the Drought Community Programme, will see $10,200 given to the charity to cart and supply the bulk water.

Founder Russell Wantling said the agreement with the council was a lifeline, with the charity’s donations “drying up” and summer rain not guaranteed.

“The demand just grows as the summer continues and we don’t get rain. Each week it gets busier,” Mr Wantling said.

“(Water carting) was up between 40,000 and 50,000L before we got the rain and it’ll drop off a bit because people don’t abuse the system.

“All the predictions of rain … have been pretty hit and miss.”

It is expected the weekly allocation will provide about 50 loads of water to be carted to families right across the district.

Granite Belt Water Relief founder Russell Wantling (centre) was grateful for the partnership with council.
Granite Belt Water Relief founder Russell Wantling (centre) was grateful for the partnership with council.

According to Mr Wantling, “every thousand litres helps a family, so a fair few truck loads is massive”.

“Even if we use the 44,000, that’s maybe three or four months of water if we keep getting a bit of rain,” he said.

“Which is good security for the area and our charity.”

While a wet summer has been forecast, Mr Wantling believes the region needs to establish ways to “look after everyone” through drought.

“We go into drought a lot more than we used to – there are more times that we’re in drought that we’re not,” he said.

“We have the bones of it and the infrastructure ready, if we had a heap of rain we could store it.

“It would be good to have a program because what I’ve seen with families, I’d hate to see them go through it again without any help.”

MORE STANTHORPE STORIES:

REVEALED: Big Apple inspiration behind new cafe

Strawberry growers cop wild weather damage

CBD MAKEOVER: $3.79M project to revitalise Stanthorpe’s centre

Gap in NDIS providers inspires new service