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TAS Country : July 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010 Tasmanian Country 15 News South-east tipped for driest winter REFILL: Strawberry grower Peter Bignell is concerned about replenishing dams. DRY: John Ramsay BLAIR RICHARDS We wouldn't normally be irrigating until November/ December.' CENTRAL and southeast Tasmania has recorded one of the warmest, driest winters on record and there's little relief in sight. While farmers in the state's north have enjoyed soaking winter rains, those in the southeast are strug- gling with incredibly dry conditions, Hobart weath- er bureau climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan said. Hobart Airport had re- corded 20 per cent more sunshine this winter than last year, he said. ''That means a lot of days with almost no cloud. Since early July in areas where it's been dry there really hasn't been any more rain days to make a difference. ''In lots of these places it's running awfully close to the driest June/July on record. ''Each time we've had a rain event it's failed to produce rain into the southeast --- it's a very different story to last year, when the east and south east got absolutely satu- rated. ''In the north, dams are full and the grass is green, it's so different to the south where everything is dry and looking quite stres- sed.'' Mr Barnes-Keoghan said the seasonal climate out- look for August to October was for more of the same. However, rain events could not be ruled out. While a day of blue skies in the southeast might make for pleasant winter weather, it's making far- mers' hearts sink. Kempton farmer Peter Bignell said he was amazed to see the dry south east landscape as he flew back into Tasmania this week after a holiday. ''You'd think it was the middle of summer looking from the air. I think it's probably worse than it's ever been, even at the height of the drought. ''We had one good season, now it's worse,'' he said. Mr Bignell, who grows strawberry plants, said he had enough water for the time being, but with the Jordan River running dry it would be hard to refill his dam. ''The rain is falling around us. I'm very sus- picious that Hydro cloud seeding is taking the rain from us. We can't prove they are causing it but they can't prove their not,'' he said. Gabbi Bresnehan of Levendale said she was back to hand-feeding stock. ''The water situation's okay as the water table has risen with the rain we had last year, but there's just no feed. People are becom- ing very disillusioned,'' she said. Tex Rowlands, a mixed farmer from Levendale, said relief provided by last winter's deluge had been short lived. ''People think that be- cause we had a better year last year, were out of the woods, but were not. ''The stock prices are good now but most of us haven't got any,'' Mr Row- lands said. ''People have got rid of (their animals) because of the drought or sold them for next to nothing and now we want them back,'' he said. ''Primary industry is a good life but there's not much money in it,'' he said. Runnymede wool grower and fat lamb pro- ducer Paul Tate said cold winter nights were an ad- ded headache on top of warmer days. ''On the East Coast its as dry as it was during the drought and we've had a lot of frosts so what moist- ure was in the ground, the frost has taken it out,'' he said. Bothwell farmer John Ramsay said the lack of rain had forced him to water his crops during winter. ''That's unheard of at this time of year. We wouldn't normally be irrigating until Novem- ber/December,'' he said. Mr Ramsay said local irrigators were trying to resolve their long running dispute with the State Government over the man- agement of the Clyde Ri- ver. He said recent indi- cations from the Govern- ment were that irrigators would get a 50 per cent allocation from lakes Cres- cent and Sorell. Shannon Clyde irri- gators consultative com- mittee chairman Richard Hallett said that given the dry conditions, it was un- fortunate that the Shannon Clyde water project would be put off until December 2013. However he said nego- tiations with the Tasman- ian Irrigation Develop- ment Board were going well. ''We're very close to get- ting the uptake required for the scheme to proceed. A secure water supply is just the tonic that the district needs,'' he said. Mr Hallett, of Hollow Tree, said rainfall for the year had just reached 110mm, close to figures recorded at the height of the drought in 2006. Drought eases interstate NORTHERN Victorian ir- rigators are set to gain their first opening season allocation since 2007, with those on the Goulburn ex- pected to gain at least 15-20 per cent of their high re- liability entitlement on August 16. The rosier outlook is driven by good summer and autumn rain, with the prospect of further im- provements as La Nina develops across the Pacific Ocean in spring. Lake Eildon and Waran- ga Basin now hold more than 1320 gigalitres, well above the 788 gigalitres ,innimum requirement. At this time last year, the Goulburn's main storages held less than 650 gigalitres. Goulburn Murray Water's accounts show ir- rigators hold less than 335 gigalitres of carryover water in storage, which leaves about 202 gigalitres available for this season's allocation, about 17 per cent of irrigators high re- liability entitlement. However, the rise in Goulburn irrigators' allo- cations will slow once they reach 30 per cent this season, under the Vic- torian Government's new drought reserve policy. Under the policy, half the storage inflows will be diverted into a drought reserve once allocations reach 30 per cent. The Weekly Times Do you need help to live independently at home? * Calls from mobile phones are charged at applicable rates Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are here to help. A Centre can: • Provide you with information on local aged & community care services available to suit your needs • Arrange help for carers to take a break from their caring role (respite) To contact your local Centre call Freecall 1800 052 222* To find your nearest shopfront visit www.commcarelink.health.gov.au For emergency respite outside business hours call Freecall 1800 059 059* Carer Advisory and Counselling Service For family carer support and counselling you can contact your state or territory Carers Association on 1800 242 636* adcorp11868
August 5th 2010