Drought relief: Neighbour clears out spring-fed catchment | Photos

Lynne McAdam
Lynne McAdam

Dry conditions and ineligibility for drought funding led a landholder from Kerrs Creek to tap into a spring on her property so she could share the water with drought-affected neighbours.

Lynne McAdam farms sheep and goats in a valley that is home to six grazing properties.

After receiving 39 millimetres of rain in 18 months, and with no grass remaining, Ms McAdam decided to share water from an underground supply on her property that comes up via a spring into what used to be a lagoon, also called a soak. 

MAP: Where is Kerrs Creek?

Ms McAdam said she was told that in a severe drought during the 1970s all the farmers in the valley had legal access to that lagoon and she plans to provide that access again.

“I've been dry land farming here since 2011 without the need for additional water,” Ms McAdam said. 

“This is my first experience of drought and I want it to be my last. 

“With very little rain over the last 18 months, dams are all but empty and what's left in them is muddy rubbish not fit for stock to drink.

“House tanks have nothing but frog water left in the bottom of them.

“The residents of this valley are all recent arrivals with me being here the longest, so there's not a lot of history, except for stories that came from the previous owner.”

Ms McAdam said all the farmers run sheep for wool or meat, one has cattle and she also runs goats, which had to be destocked. 

“I chose not to breed this year as April was too dry and I think I made the right choice,” she said. 

“Other farmers that chose to lamb are finding a dramatic reduction in surviving lambs, down to as little as 20 per cent of a normal year.  

“We've all had deaths of our livestock over the last few months due to lack of decent feed and malnutrition. 

“You can keep filling stock up with hay, but nothing is more important to their health than good grassy pasture and that is only achievable with water.”

DROUGHT SUPPORT: Bruce Robinson, Mark Robertson, Lynne McAdam, Donna Davey with equipment that was donated by Thinkwater Dural to clear the soak. Photo: SUPPLIED

DROUGHT SUPPORT: Bruce Robinson, Mark Robertson, Lynne McAdam, Donna Davey with equipment that was donated by Thinkwater Dural to clear the soak. Photo: SUPPLIED

She said over the years the series of holding ponds from the springs became filled with silt and overgrown with reeds and weeds.

“It is my intention to clean them up and get the whole system functioning again,” Ms McAdam said. 

“I've no idea or experience of how to make it happen, but I have to give it a go. I can't sit around waiting for the cavalry to arrive while everything continues to die around me.

“I had no money to make any infrastructure improvements to drought-proof for the future and it became obvious that government help was not available so I started a GoFundMe page in August to raise money and also received private funding.”

She raised close to $9000 for the project, which will be used for the excavation of the lagoon and  employment of a contractor to “airseed” the lucerne flat. 

Irrigation shop Thinkwater Dural has also supplied pumps, pipeworks and sprinklers to get the water onto the paddocks once the soak is clean and full of water.

Thinkwater Dural designed and advised on an irrigation system that will be suitable to pump the water from Ms McAdam’s property to the neighboring lucerne flat. 

A list of needed products was compiled and the company contacted its supplies for donations for a majority of those products, including a commercial pump, sprinklers, pipe and fittings.

Between the suppliers and our store, more than $7000 of equipment and supplies was donated and the company will also provide assistance with the installation process.

“I'm excited to think that everyone can benefit if they want to,” Ms McAdam said.

“There is an existing pipeline running the full length of the valley from north to south that can be tapped into at any point to use for stock or irrigation to grow fodder for the future.”

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