Dam bursts as ex-tropical cyclone Seth adds to farmer’s water woes

Cane farmer Tony Russo stands on the backside of an empty dam on his property close to Childers, however this time it isn’t empty due to drought. 

The dam burst its banks on Saturday after a deluge of rain from ex-tropical cyclone Seth noticed greater than 300 millimetres fall in a matter of hours at Farnsfield between Bundaberg and Childers.

It’s a tricky blow for Mr Russo and his son, who constructed the dam after years of water insecurity.

“[It’s] solely been accomplished three months in the past,” he stated.

“We decided as a result of the yr started off at 22 per cent water allocation, we thought that we wanted it to develop our crops.

“You hear it on a regular basis, that is a farmer’s lot — we cop the nice, we cop the unhealthy.

Man in high visibility shirt stands in front of dam
Cane farmer Tony Russo says unpredictable climate is taking a toll on farmers within the Wide Bay Burnett.(ABC Wide Bay: Lucy Loram)

‘We cannot simply sit and wait’

The dam price greater than $150,000 to construct and Mr Russo anticipated it could price simply as a lot to restore it.

“This has actually taken plenty of my money this yr. I solely budgeted on constructing the dam, however did not funds on repairing the dam as effectively,” he stated.

“[It will take] a minimal of a month and that may be to get equipment in right here — excavators, dump vehicles, compactors and no matter else we have got to do to get this website again, and we have nonetheless bought to look ahead to it to dry out.”

Mr Russo stated he was additionally anxious that if the area copped one other deluge, it could take even longer for his dam to dry out earlier than he might repair it — and he’d miss out on accumulating extra invaluable water provides.

Man and dog stand in bottom of empty dam
Mr Russo says restoring the dam will trigger monetary pressure.(ABC Wide Bay: Lucy Loram)

After an unpredictable moist season, Mr Russo stated he would be turning to the federal government for monetary help.

“We’ve bought to grit our enamel, we have got to see what the federal government can do to assist us get again on observe in order that we are able to transfer over this hump and get again to farming once more.”

Inside am empty dam with a burst wall
Mr Russo says floodwater was breaching the highest of the dam earlier than the spillway crumbled.(ABC Wide Bay: Lucy Loram)

The federal authorities introduced on Tuesday further catastrophe help for the Hinkler area.

“Low curiosity loans of up to $250,000 can be found to assist flood-impacted major producers and small businesses in Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Gympie, North Burnett and South Burnett to get again on their toes as quickly as potential,” Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt stated.

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