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Posted on 7 November, 2019 in Community

The Big Dry

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As we all know, Australia is currently in the midst of an unprecedented drought. We have all been witness to some of the devastating results of this drought far too close to home, with the fires that have ravaged our community over the past few weeks. The drought is clearly effecting the lives of every-day people and communities, and our ability to fight natural disasters like these horrible fires. However, it is arguably having the biggest effect on our farming communities across the country.

 

Rain, please.

Too many country towns throughout NSW are counting down to ‘day zero’ – the day they run out of water completely. Others such as Murrindi, NSW, have been living with no water since March, relying on water being trucked in daily from a nearby town. It is so easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed in the face of this struggle, especially since it’s spread across the state and even the country. Sometimes the problem can seem too big and simply unfixable. We all know what we need – RAIN! Lots of it, as soon as possible. At this stage, our rain dances have had little to no positive effect, so we have tried to develop different ways to support the farmers and the communities most harshly effected.

One of our neighbouring farming communities, the tiny town of Walcha, is in a devastating situation of its own at the hands of The Big Dry. While Port Macquarie-Hastings is currently on level two water restrictions, Walcha is getting ready to move to level five. This small rural town is heavily reliant on the spend from its surrounding properties. With the effects of this devastating drought, businesses in Walcha are struggling to stay afloat. As the closest seaside town to Walcha, The Port Macquarie-Hastings area has undoubtably benefitted from family holidays and tourist dollars over the years! Now it’s our turn to return the favour, and give a little boost to their economy.

 

Before and after of Walcha farmland

 

Beach to Bush

This November, The Westport Club is proud to partner with Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West to bring you Beach to Bush Drought Relief – a campaign to support the community of Walcha. The Beach to Bush Drought Relief aims to raise cash and distribute this cash, as “Walcha Dollars”, to surrounding farmers to be spent in Walcha businesses. The first part of the campaign, “Business to Business”, sets the challenge for 100 Port Macquarie-Hastings businesses to give a sponsorship of $100 during November for the Beach to Bush Drought Relief. We are so excited to see our amazing community take up this challenge!

You don’t have to own a business to contribute to the Beach to Bush campaign through November. Choose your own challenge with your friends, family, sporting group or club to raise $100, or donate whatever you feel you can contribute.  Each time you visit the Club, with collection tins at every register, you can also drop your change in the tin.  Every bit helps. Click here to read more about our Beach to Bush campaign.

 

What else can we do?

If you’re looking for a different way to help, there are lots of other ways you can contribute or support those who are doing it tough! Here are some ideas.

  1. Do your Christmas shopping online, through regional towns. The NSW government have put together a guide for shopping regionally. It may cost you a little more, but it could change the day, week or month for a small business in a drought effected town. It also adds a little something extra special to your Christmas gifts.
  2. Attend regional events! For example, a few hours drive from Port Macquarie will get you to the Walcha Motorcycle Weekend coming up next weekend – 15-17 November. For motorcycle lovers, this is the perfect excuse for a beautiful country ride, head on out to Walcha and see some of the best motorcycles in Australia. The locals would love to welcome you for the weekend. Check out what else is coming up!
  3. Your presence can be the greatest support! Go for a weekend drive to a farming community, have lunch in the pub, fill up with fuel, buy something from the grocery store. Make a point to have a chat with the locals, have a laugh, tell them that we are all behind them.

 

One simple step.

Most importantly, there is something that we can all do, every day. Save water. Leave watering your lawn for an extra few days, we are all in the brown lawn club! Take a few minutes off your shower and make sure the dishwasher is full before you run it. And finally – please follow your council’s instructions on water restrictions! Water is such a precious resource, now more than ever, and we can only effectively reduce our water use as a community if we all do our part. The Aussie spirit will get us through The Big Dry – let’s support those who are struggling to support themselves.

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