TO THE RESCUE: SRH Milk Haulage comes to the aid of Guyra which is running dangerously low on water supplies.
TO THE RESCUE: SRH Milk Haulage comes to the aid of Guyra which is running dangerously low on water supplies.

Milk specialist comes to aid of drought-stricken town

ALTHOUGH more used to hauling dairy products across three states, the family-owned SRH Milk Haulage didn't hesitate to answer the SOS from a drought-stricken town in regional NSW.

While waiting for a new pipeline to be built, Guyra, 190km west of Coffs Harbour, was facing the daunting prospect of running dry by mid-August: local dam levels are at just 27%.

But SRH has come to their aid by supplying two single trailers and B-doubles to move roughly around three to four loads per day - 1.2 megalitres of water each week - while the pipeline is being constructed.

Potable water is pumped from a large water main in Armidale's Mott Street. Trucks take about 35 minutes to fill and about 30 minutes to drive to Guyra, where they go to the Water Treatment Plant and spent another 35 minutes pumping the water into the outlet side of the plant, before it is pumped up into the reservoir.

Council CEO Susan Law told The Northern Daily Leader that SRH was an accomplished firm when it came to carting liquids, and had all the appropriate licences.

"They're an experienced milk haulage company, and as it's a slow period for dairy products, it has been convenient for us. We're still calculating the amount that is going to be necessary,” she said.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said escalated water restrictions had brought a slight reduction in consumption.

"But with drought conditions continuing to bite hard, and without any predictions of substantial rain in the foreseeable future, that drop in use hasn't been enough to maintain supplies for essential water use,” he said.

Level 5 restrictions are scheduled to be implemented for Guyra from June 24, as another necessary step to protect remaining supplies. The heightened restrictions will have significant implications for commercial customers.

"Council is very conscious that some businesses will have to temporarily stop some of their activities completely and the move to Level 5 is an emergency measure until the pipeline is operational.

"Transporting the water by truck will ease the crisis but it is not a cheap process and we have sought funding from the State Government to assist. Our understanding is that funding will be provided.

"In the meantime, we need to get the water carting started to ensure Guyra has sufficient supplies to cover the time expected to take to complete the pipeline and allow for any delays in getting the pipeline operational.

"The move from Level 4 to 5 does not bring additional restrictions for households but we strongly urge all town water users to do everything they can to minimise consumption.”

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