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Wallabadah runs dry -

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TONY EASTLEY: While the politicians agree to disagree, there's no doubt about the size of the
problem.

Wallabadah is a small town in northern New South Wales, which doesn't normally attract too much
attention.

But now the town's well has given up the ghost and the 300 locals are relying on water being
trucked in as the town goes on level seven water restrictions.

Karen Barlow reports.

KAREN BARLOW: No rain since a fierce but quick storm on New Year's Day has left Wallabadah's well
unable to keep up with demand.

The President of the Wallabadah Jockey Club, Gerard Smith.

GERARD SMITH: Well, it is very, as I say, it is very desperate and, you know, to have Wallabadah
races washed out only a few weeks ago because of rain, and now the town's struggling for water and
we've got no water to manage our facilities.

KAREN BARLOW: The well ran down so far local hotelier, Ken Black, says all the pipes, including
those to the toilets, lost pressure.

KEN BLACK: Well it is not real flash. You try and run a hotel. We never even had enough water to
flush the toilets first thing this morning. So, but it's come, we've been trucking water in and
it's coming good now, but it was a bit of a shock. Like, they've told me these bores haven't dried
up before.

KAREN BARLOW: The failure of the Wallabadah well is believed to be due to the dry climate, however
the Liverpool Plains Shire Council is checking for any illegal upstream use of a local creek.

Meantime, the council's acting General Manager, Bob Stewart, says very tough water restrictions are
now in force.

BOB STEWART: Yes we are on level seven in restrictions and that means basically no outside use of
water.

KAREN BARLOW: So for the immediate future, it's trucking in water?

BOB STEWART: Trucking in water, and we've got the bore turned off at the moment, the well, seeing
how it recovers and we'll be doing some tests to see what level of water we can safely extract from
the well.

KAREN BARLOW: How much is this costing? I understand this is an expensive exercise.

BOB STEWART: Oh, there'll be certainly plant hire there but the main thing is we've got to get
water back into the town.

KAREN BARLOW: Gerard Smith says Wallabadah residents are feeling powerless.

GERARD SMITH: Well it is very serious situation in that a lot of the residents around town here
don't have tank water.

KAREN BARLOW: Do you trust your council for how they're going to be dealing with this situation?

GERARD SMITH: Well, I suppose you have to. There's no other option but, other than to get water
trucked in yourself.

KAREN BARLOW: The owner and manager of the Marshall MacMahon Inn, Ken Black, questions how things
have got so bad.

KEN BLACK: I think the water management could have been a little bit better. There's been a lot of
blokes in the pub today and a lot of fellows talking and discussing it, to what should be done and
they'll probably have a meeting and see what's going to happen I'd say, just with the council,
'cause you can't even water with a bucket or anything now.

So, you know, all the older people who grow all their own vegies and that sort of thing, they're
going to suffer a bit too now.

KAREN BARLOW: There are now 12 towns in New South Wales carting water and Wallabadah is not the
biggest needing this kind of help.

Carters Opal Fields near Walgett has about 500 residents.

Expectations are that more and bigger population centres will have to ship water in if the drought
doesn't break soon.

TONY EASTLEY: Karen Barlow reporting.