“I mightn’t have got the money to make it start raining, but hopefully soon they will pay me to make it stop.”
That was the tongue in cheek comment from Peter ‘Rainmaker’ Stevens, who is adamant he can make it rain and break the drought with his Atmospheric Ionisation Research Machine.
Last week The Leader spoke to the former Tamworth man, who was asking for a payment of $10,000 to help cover the costs of an expedition from his current base at Gingin north of Perth to Lighting Ridge.
While he did receive a payment of $3000 from a farmer in Condobolin, he decided to make the trip anyway out of a sense of duty, after realising just how desperate the situation was.
“I read The Leader’s story on Friday and realised how bad it was over there and just got in the car and went,” he said.
“When you are entrusted with technology like this sometimes you just have to use it. Until the last few weeks I had no idea just how bad the drought had got in NSW.”
Mr Stevens hit the road hard, travelling the 3000km in just four days before setting up his machine in Lightning Ridge late on Monday night.
Despite having to make a few repairs to some damage sustained on the journey, the machine was in full swing by Tuesday afternoon, and Mr Stevens is predicting that we should see results locally by the end of the week.
“I mightn’t have got the money to make it start raining, but hopefully soon they will pay me to make it stop.”The Rainmaker, Peter Stevens
The machine uses mirrors, infrared energy, and magnets to magnify the suns heat and “create an intense warm section of air that charges particles in the atmosphere causing clouds to form and rain.”
It has previously been used all over the North West region, as well as in California and Arizona, and was also implicated in the 1985 Lismore flood.
“It has been operating while I have been repairing it this morning, so not at full power, but I can already see cloud striations forming,” he said.
“I think I can make a weather event by the end of the week, although by setting up for seven days here I can charge the atmosphere for 28 days. I would like to see it make rain all the way through NSW.”
Mr Stevens is suing the machine to reflect the light and heat from the sun hoping to “energise the air over the Indian Ocean and equatorial area, which will start to form a weather event as it comes down over NSW.”
Ironically Mr Stevens claims that he doesn’t actually have to be in NSW to cause a rain event here, even claiming the moderate downfall the region received over the weekend as his work, after briefly firing up the machine late last week in Western Australia and focussing it over NSW.
“The truth is if people don’t see you do it in NSW, they are not prepared to believe I can make it rain from WA,” he said.
“Just last week I actually got a $1000 donation from a woman in Washington DC for me to help with the Californian fires.
“I am going to do that by alternating the angle a bit between NSW and California, while I am in Lightning Ridge.
“People in America know that it works because I have made it rain in the Arizona Desert and in California before.”
Following the death of Mr Toyer in the 1994 the machine was decommissioned and Mr Stevens swore he would “never bring it out again”.
That was “until an ex-Commonwealth magistrate gave me $6000 in 2006 to rebuild it to help the Bourke and Brewarrina region”, and he has been using it sparingly ever since.
“In the end I just want to help however I can, and if you can make it rain you better do it.”