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23 October, 2020

One million litres of liquid gold flow in National Water Week

RURAL AID has announced the largest ever set of water delivery drops of the #FinishWasteWater initiative, with more than one million litres of water destined for over 50 drought-stricken farmers between Roma and Carrieton in South Australia this week.

By Edwina Watson RURAL LEADER JOURNALIST

Paul Masson chats with local water carter, Richard, of Roma Transport

First launched in 2019, #FinishWaterWaste encourages Australians to be smarter with their water use at home by promising to stop pre-rinsing their dishes - a habit which the Australian Bureau of Statistics says can waste up to 40 litres of water per load. For every social media post tagging #FinishWaterWaste, Finish will donate 40 litres of water which is then delivered by Rural Aid to drought affected farmers.

On Monday, Yuleba cattle producers Paul and Beryl Masson welcomed the first Finish B-double water tanker to their property Wattle Tee as part of National Water Week (from October 19 to 25). Mr Masson said the water drop brought huge relief.

"In the last four or five years we've had a fairly tough time," he said. "The rain has crossed as far as Roma and started up again at Miles, and we've missed out every time."

"The rain has been so variable that we haven't had any sort of water hit our dams," Mr Masson said. "So, it was a huge relief to see the truck come in."

Mr Masson described the mental toll years of drought had taken on he and his wife.

"To look out the window every day and to see it hot and dry, with winds and dust storms, is depressing. It's impossible to keep the house clean and the garden is dying - there's not a blade of grass.

"It's disheartening still when there's no grass for the cattle, and your only options are to sell or agist," Mr Masson said.

Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters, said his organisation had partnered with Finish to deliver 10 million litres of water to drought-stricken farmers in 2020/21 to ensure affected communities were supported and not forgotten.

"Despite some rainfall this year, the impact of drought continues to drag on right across Australia," Mr Warlters said.

"Here in the Maranoa, we witnessed a storm roll through on Monday night, which brought plenty of wind and dust, but no rain. The need for substantial rainfall remains just as urgent as it always has been."

"We need rain, we need help and Rural Aid and Finish are there to deliver that support," Mr Warlters said.

Mr Warlters said this week's #FinishWaterWaste drive would go a long way in helping farmers as they prepared for some of the hottest months ahead.

"Delivering one million litres in just one week is no mean feat, but on the Masson's place its dry as chips," he said.

"We're thrilled to cart water to more than fifty producers in Queensland's Maranoa and Granite Belt, then in New South Wales and the Tablelands and South Australia and the Flinders Ranges."

Yuleba cattle producers Paul and Beryl Masson welcome the first delivery as part of Finish's one million litre water drop, to their property Wattle Tee

Paul Masson said prior to the water delivery, he held concerns going into Spring.

"It's really starting to warm up here, and I'm sure come Summer it will be stinking hot," he said.

"We received some rain in March, which held us through part of this year, but we haven't had any since.

"It would take less than a month of hot weather for our dams to be sent completely dry," Mr Masson said. "A big thank you to Rural Aid and to Finish Water Waste. We encourage all to get involved."

RB Hygiene Regional Director, Oliver Tatlow, said the road to recovery following prolonged drought would be a long one.

"We're thrilled to celebrate National Water Week with our record-breaking water drop on the back of the worst drought in history," Mr Tatlow said. "It's so important, too, the issues of drought and water scarcity aren't simply a case of 'out of sight, out of mind.' That's what's driving this campaign."

"Alongside Rural Aid and with the support of Coles as well, we're working hard to provide the support our producers need to keep going."


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