The recent heavy rain which has brought flooding and filled dams in the region has well and truly broken a drought that left rural towns and farmers struggling.
For the first time in years major catchments such as Chaffey are likely to fill, and rivers like the Naomi and Peel are running high.
Smaller dams on private properties are at capacity, setting up farmers with the ability to water what is expect to be bumper crops year. The predictions are already out that water for irrigation of wheat and cotton crops will be plentiful.
The water, however, is a double-edged sword. Chickpea farmers are keeping a watchful eye on the sky as it is a critical time for disease prevention in the lead-up to harvest, while cotton growers hoping to plant in early October are checking forceasts, hoping the weather doesn’t deteroriate.
The likely bumper crops this year is great news for towns in New England and the North West – farmers will have money to spend on equipment, shops catering to the luxuries in life will have greater foot traffic and the business community can add another layer to its plans for a rosier future.
We should not, however, too quickly forget the leaner water times and plan for them. Water is a precious commodity and we should look to conserve it in times of plenty – such as now – for the return of drought. And it will come.
Perhaps it is a good juncture to look at all our water usage – rural, residential and commercial – and rethink how we consume water into the future. Conservation that creates a water buffer to be used in troubled times to keep our crops to grow and economy alive is not too much of a sacrifice to ask.
While beautiful gardens and lawns are a delight to the eye, they are heavy consumers of water. This spring and summer, before you bring out the hose to keep that patch green or the roses blooming, think of the consequences down the line.
Good water habits start at home, so don’t leave taps running, keep your showers to 3 minutes maximum, buy water tanks for your home to take advantage of this rain for your gardens and get ready for the dry, hot summer to come.
You’ll be thankful when the water restrictions that cause so much grief to towns are kept at bay longer because when there was plenty we thought to conserve. It’s a model that our children and grandchildren will thank us for.