Moffatdale's Dane Kapernick said his current water supply came from bores, and was only enough to keep his animals alive.
Moffatdale's Dane Kapernick said his current water supply came from bores, and was only enough to keep his animals alive. Alistair Brightman

'Just keeping the animals alive': Water supplies dry up

SINCE the start of July, farmers like Dane Kapernick haven't had any guaranteed access to the water supply in the Barker Barambah scheme.

The hay and cattle farmer in Moffatdale understands water allocations have been cut back due to the drought.

"We understand if it doesn't rain there's no allocation, but why isn't there infrastructure?" Mr Kapernick questioned.

After receiving 35 per cent reliability of water over the past 15 years, Mr Kapernick said better water infrastructure could be a game changer for the South Burnett.

"We need improvements to what infrastructure is here - agriculture could be a massive industry here if there was more water," he said.

DRIED UP: A portion of the Barker Barambah Creek in Moffatdale which is all dried up.
DRIED UP: A portion of the Barker Barambah Creek in Moffatdale which is all dried up. Dane Kapernick

Sunwater announced the water supply scheme would allocate 100 per cent to Barker Barambah high-priority customers for town water supplies and industrial use from July 1.

Medium-priority customers were allocated 0 per cent.

Mr Kapernick said more than 500 irrigators and South Burnett landholders across more than 25,000 acres of prime agricultural land fell under the medium-priority category.

He said his current water supply came from bores.

"They are obviously not even 10 per cent of what we need - the bores are only just keeping the animals alive," he said.

The South Burnett farmer said he was happy to pay water charges if he could see the money spent on infrastructure to improve water reliability.

He said the Bjelke Petersen Dam and the Joe Sipple Weir could be better utilised.

"It's not like new dams need to be built, we just need the existing dams to be utilised," Mr Kapernick said.

 

WATER SUPPLY: The Barker Barambah water supply scheme provides water to the northern part of the South Burnett.
WATER SUPPLY: The Barker Barambah water supply scheme provides water to the northern part of the South Burnett. Sunwater

The Barker Barambah scheme services irrigation farming in Redgate, Murgon and Mondure, and supplements the town water supply in Murgon, Wondai, Byee and Cherbourg.

Sunwater states on its website that when storage levels were low, medium-priority customers were the first to be restricted.

"We understand these dry times can be challenging times for our customers given the lack of meaningful inflows," the site states.

"We are hopeful for inflows sooner than later and will continue to keep you updated if there are any changes to the current conditions."