Plenty of dusty rain gauges remain

Plenty of dusty rain gauges remain


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John and Sheila Back are doing all they can to get moisture flowing into their rain gauge at Navarre, Ilfracombe, including adding an old cream separator to increase the catch.

John and Sheila Back are doing all they can to get moisture flowing into their rain gauge at Navarre, Ilfracombe, including adding an old cream separator to increase the catch.

Aa

JOHN and Sheila Back, like many others in the west are still waiting rain.

Aa

ALTHOUGH John and Sheila Back jokingly poured some beer into their rain gauge at the weekend and commented that it was the first moisture it had seen for a long time, their situation, like many others in the west still waiting for rain, is serious.

Their property Navarre, south-east of Ilfracombe on the Dandaraga Road, has only recorded 170mm (680pts) since May 2013.

The previous weekend yielded only 10mm.

Despite that, John is determined to look at his position in a positive light.

"This isn't as bad as 1969-70," he said.

"That was absolutely terrible. We moved all our stock up to a place at Hughenden and shut the gate here and walked away."

This drought he decided to feed their stock, which he now describes as "grabbing a tiger by the tail".

For some years the Backs have been feeding cottonseed as a management tool at the end of the year, and this was an extension of that.

John said he was fortunate to have flowing bores and not have to worry about watering his stock.

"Others have had a terrible time with dams drying up."

Sheila has had to let the lawn die, though, as the house dam ran out of water and the bore water proved to be a lawn killer.

"People in the west are resilient," John said.

"We've seen it before and we just have to battle through.

"Our biggest worry is that not only is the means to an income being degraded, but it's being shrunk further by government charges.

"Added to that is that predators are making inroads into our means of making a living."

Aa

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