South-east Qld added to drought list, but water still in good supplyBy Matt Eaton, Thursday August 14, 2014 - 13:40 EST
The Queensland Government has placed the state's south-east on the official drought list.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said Brisbane City Council had been included in the declaration, along with the council areas of Gold Coast City, Ipswich City, Lockyer Valley, Logan City, Redland City, Somerset and the Scenic Rim.
He did, however, point out there was a plentiful water supply in 12 dams across the south-east region.
But the declaration, effective from August 1, means farmers in the south-east might now qualify for State Government assistance.
Mr McVeigh said the declaration followed a deterioration in rural pastures in the region because of a lack of significant rainfall and would have no impact on domestic water supplies.
He said the drought-declared area now extended from Mt Isa in the north-west to Coolangatta on the New South Wales border, and covered 75.5 per cent of the state.
"Unfortunately, the dry winter and heavy frosts from the cold nights have hit pastures in the south east," Mr McVeigh said.
"The drought now has a vast geographical spread across our state.
"In response, the Queensland Government has so far allocated $62 million towards assisting those farmers doing it tough.
"But this declaration will have no effect on domestic water supplies in the south-east.
"The 12 dams in south-east Queensland that contribute to the water supply system are currently at an average of 86 per cent of their full supply capacity."
Seqwater said the region's water security status was "high" and irrigation schemes in the region were at or near 100 per cent allocation.
Primary producers in drought-declared regions can apply for funding under the emergency water infrastructure rebate or the drought relief assistance scheme.
Mr McVeigh said the drought-relief scheme paid out $23.859 million in 2013-14.
© ABC 2014
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