Drought hit towns in Queensland may not find the much needed reprieve yet. There are not enough tankers to supply water, and this is threatening to plunge Queensland into a deeper crisis.
The residents are peeved with the situation, despite Premier Peter Beattie's promises to the contrary in the recent past. It seemed like mere rhetoric when the Premier promised to bear the cost of transporting water to all the towns reeling under the water scarcity.
Tony Ryan, a Warwick-based trucking contractor with Beaumont Transport, said "If it hadn't rained, we'd have been running 24 hours, round-the-clock to keep up with them. To run 24/7 it takes a fair bit of manpower. If push came to shove, you'd probably scrape up enough to do it but trying to find the bigger capacity tanks is a hard battle. We've only got the one tank and once it was worked here, there was another job for it in Brisbane. We sent it straight down there again, because you just can't have it sitting around."
Warwick's Leslie Dam containing only 9 per cent of capacity caters to towns with unpredictable water supply. This creates the need for extra 600,000 litres a day which needs to be transported.
Stanthorpe Shire chief executive Terry Brennan said, "It's a fairly big logistical exercise to be carting water that distance. It would have to be done on just about a continuous basis and we'd have to really cut our consumption fairly significantly to be able to keep water supply going. If you can't get tankers much bigger than 30,000 litres, you start to appreciate the magnitude of the task."
Stanthorpe Mayor Glen Rogers confirmed that plans are underway to begin the construction of a dam to supply water to the town. But this will be dependant on the approvals to be received from the planning and environment boards.