Ilfracombe and Isisford residents on water restrictions are breathing easier since the weekend rain event but the Longreach Regional Council’s smallest town, Yaraka, is still looking skyward.
Ilfracombe’s town dam, which was down to four months supply, began filling on Sunday morning, and is now at 35 per cent capacity.
Longreach Regional Council mayor, Ed Warren, said this would give the community enough water for 12 to 13 months, which he described as “breathing space”.
Further to the south, Isisford was able to begin pumping water from local run-off in the Barcoo River to its town dam, and when upstream water comes down, is expecting to go from a four month supply to a full dam.
“The communities may be able to come off level three water restrictions but I can’t speculate more until we see how much rain we end up with,” Cr Warren said.
Yaraka’s town dam, also with four months of water left, had an extra .4m in it on Monday night.
Servicing 16 residents, Cr Warren said the extra demand of the coming tourist season could be a concern.
The contingency plan is to desalinate bore water and mix it with the dam supply.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “Both dams at Yaraka have been cleaned out and the fluming fixed.”
Just as frustrating was the lack of gauges upstream of Longreach, to estimate the amount of water coming down the Thomson.
Cr Warren said it was above minor level at Muttaburra but was a “bit of an unknown quantity”.
“We used to rely on people on stations in the past to do manual readings but we should be in modern times now,” he said, noting that it had been raised at a disaster management meeting again this week.
On the effect of the rain on the paddocks, Cr Warren said it hadn’t been general across the region.
While falls ranged from 40 to 140mm, it had given everyone some hope.
“Rain at this time of the year is perfect for the germination of new Mitchell grass,” Cr Warren said, a significant factor in an area where in many places there are no old butts for grass to shoot from.
“It’s the follow-up now that will count,” he said.