Emma and Stephen Labmert with their three boys Zac, 12, Thomas, 8, and Sebastian, 5, in for Stanthorpe. Picture: Liam Kidston
Emma and Stephen Labmert with their three boys Zac, 12, Thomas, 8, and Sebastian, 5, in for Stanthorpe. Picture: Liam Kidston

Households forced to live on 100L of water a day

A QUEENSLAND council has introduced some of the strictest water restrictions the state has ever seen as it battles "the worst drought in living memory".

Households on the Southern Downs, which includes Stanthorpe, will be rationed to 100 litres of water a day from September 1.

Mayor Tracey Dobie yesterday announced the onerous water restrictions amid fears supplies will dry up by Christmas without a downpour soon.

A massive public education campaign will start this Sunday to educate residents on waterwise habits.

The television, print and social media campaign will roll out across a massive tract of Queensland from South Burnett Regional councils through to Toowoomba and Goondiwindi in what Cr Dobie hopes will kickstart a nationwide re-education campaign on how we view our water supplies.

The restrictions have thrown a spotlight on a drought which has had most of the southern part of the state in its grip since early 2017 when the remains of Cyclone Debbie swept into the interior and provided the last real, meaningful rainfall.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracey Dobie at the announcement regarding the strict new water restrictions. Picture: Liam Kidston
Southern Downs Mayor Tracey Dobie at the announcement regarding the strict new water restrictions. Picture: Liam Kidston

Cr Dobie says the locals are in no imminent danger of running out of water, and if the nearby Storm King Dam doesn't receive rain from the usually reliable spring storms, water will be trucked in. While she is still doing the figures and won't say the price, it is certain the bill for trucking will go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars every month - a bill the council simply cannot afford.

The other thing Stanthorpe cannot afford is to lose tourists who have helped make the entire Granite Belt a fine food and wine mecca.

"The support of vi-sitors, particularly our fellow Queenslanders, is so vital during this time,'' Cr Dobie says.

"I urge you to continue visiting the town and beautiful surrounding regions.''

Emma and Stephen Labmert with their three boys Zac, 12, Thomas, 8, and Sebastian, 5, in for Stanthorpe. Picture: Liam Kidston
Emma and Stephen Labmert with their three boys Zac, 12, Thomas, 8, and Sebastian, 5, in for Stanthorpe. Picture: Liam Kidston

For Stanthorpe's Lambert family, the humble backyard water tank will become a crucial piece of infrastructure.

"We have the tanks set up but we need to connect them to the house and for that we need a plumber,'' says Stephen, the artisan baker who with wife Emma runs the popular Zest Pastries in Stanthorpe's main street. "As you can probably understand, getting a plumber is not easy at the moment.''


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