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Boulia Shire considers drought declaration

By Kate Stephens, Thursday February 21, 2013 - 13:37 EDT

As parts of inland Queensland await drenching rain, some local authorities in the state's north-west are considering applying for drought declarations.

It follows a resolution by the south-west Diamantina Shire Council to apply to the State Government for a declaration.

The weather bureau says unusually hot temperatures for the six months to January exacerbated the effect of below average rainfall at the start of the year.

Some parts of the north-west recorded their lowest average rainfalls on record last month but there has been some relief in recent days.

More than 20 millimetres of rain fell on Julia Creek and Normanton in the state's north-west at the weekend.

Flinders, Etheridge and Croydon shires say they have also had some rain but they are still waiting for the wet season.

Boulia Mayor Rick Britton says the council may apply for a drought declaration.

"During this time you'd probably be looking at 100 millimetres," he said.

"Fourteen millimetres since November to now, we haven't been having an exercise regime by walking out checking the rain, I can tell you."

The weather bureau is predicting a return to average rainfall in the coming months.

The late arrival of the west season is proving to be a mixed blessing for communities in the north west.

The unseasonably dry conditions have allowed tourists to move freely about the region and Karumba in the state's Gulf Country is expected to be abuzz with visitors this weekend.

Local hotel manager Yvonne Tunney says it is a small positive for her business but the local fishermen are unhappy.

"In the short-term they need the rain and the rivers to run to flush the prawns out," she said.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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