Mayors Desk – 9 March 2017
It will come as no surprise to any of us that we have just experienced one of the hottest summers on record. Our first 40 degree day happened in mid November and the heat relentlessly continued until very recently. This heat combined with a distinct lack of rain has left us in no doubt that we are in some trouble. To make matters worse we have had our Boyne River irrigators cut to zero allocation in the last week, meaning they can no longer irrigate their crops which include pecans, citrus and blueberries amongst other small crops, potentially affecting 900 jobs in the region. Water is a State Government issue so there is little council can do in these situations except to support our farmers in their talks with the State, encourage all farmers to fill out Individually Droughted Property applications (IDP’s) to help them get through this dry spell and make sure that we look into any water infrastructure which can future proof our regions crops.
On another note, council also feels the effects of the dry, hot weather. In particular we have two issues which I need to ask for your patience and understanding whilst we try to manage these conditions. The first is an increase in water main breaks as the water table gets lower and the earth dries out and shifts. This is an expensive and time consuming problem which may result in a loss of water from time to time.
The second is our road maintenance program, which is also being jeopardised with not only limited access to water to grade and roll the roads, but also in that, once the water is on the ground it is being limited in its effectiveness. For these reasons our published works program may change from time to time until we have enough moisture available.
There is no two ways about it – we need rain.