Country towns close to reaching ‘day zero’, as water supplies dry up in the drought

By National Regional Affairs reporter Lucy Barbour
Dry dam in bare paddock
Posted 13 Jul 2019
Farmers have never known Walcha, in regional NSW, to be so dry.
ABC News: Lucy Barbour

Ten towns, including major centres, are considered to be at high risk of running out within six months, if it doesn’t rain and if water infrastructure isn’t improved.

Councils are rushing to put emergency measures in place, but more than a decade since the end of the millennium drought, water security is still almost non-existent for many rural communities.

Key points:

  • Water security is still almost non-existent for many rural communities, with 10 towns at risk of running dry in six months
  • Locals in Tenterfield are not washing cars or watering gardens and are cutting back on showers
  • Even in high rainfall areas like Walcha, locals are enduring constant water restrictions


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.