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Water shortages in west Qld as drought contin -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: The drought gripping much of Queensland is now taking a toll on the urban communities dotted throughout the harsh Queensland landscape.

Water for domestic use is running short and extreme measures are now being taken to ensure a drinking supply.

From Brisbane, Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: The tiny town of Forsayth in Queensland's north-west has run dry.

With much of the state's west in drought, the towns aren't being spared.

The dam supplying Forsayth's 80 residents is out of water and supplies are now being trucked in daily.

LYNN WEBBER: Without it we're in deep trouble because there's no water under the ground here. I've put down two dry bore holes in the side paddock here. I was told there was no water in town but you had to give it a go.

DONNA FIELD: Resident Lyn Webber says her garden is no longer a refuge in the harsh environment.

LYNN WEBBER: You just can't use any water outside of the house, and in this climate, in this country, that really is difficult, that really does impact upon us.

And to keep things alive during the 38 to 40 degree days we've had for the past fortnight or three weeks, yes, it's a challenge. I know I've cut a lot of trees down, I've heard chainsaws going elsewhere in town.

DONNA FIELD: Further north, the gulf communities of Normanton and Karumba are too isolated for water carting.

Peter Watton from the Carpentaria Shire Council says they're looking at a more costly solution if it doesn't rain soon - hiring a desalination plant.

PETER WATTON: It's quite amazing that emergency services fund when we've got floods, which is classified as a disaster, but no one seems to want to fund when we've got a drought situation such as this. So at the moment, council are up to fund the whole box and dice.

DONNA FIELD: Can council afford to do that?

PETER WATTON: Not really.

DONNA FIELD: The western Queensland city of Mount Isa is home to 22,000 people.

The water situation there is grim too and tough restrictions are in place.

Mayor Tony McGrady says, like the properties that surround it, the city is feeling the drought.

TONY MCGRADY: Where possible, we're trying to keep the city as green and as pleasant as possible, and obviously that's difficult.

So in many cases in our parks and our median strips we've cut off the fresh water supply and we're using the effluent from our water treatment plant.

DONNA FIELD: The city's main water supply is running low and contingencies will be expensive, but Tony McGrady still has his sense of humour.

TONY MCGRADY: The council clergy are organising a day of prayer, and I say to the local Catholic priest that before he announces the day of prayer, he gets the long-term weather forecast so that a couple of days after the day of prayer the heavens open.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Let's hope that works for him. Mount Isa mayor Tony McGrady ending that report by Donna Field.