The West

Gascoyne’s water woes
Marron Station's John Craig after the fire which burned 80 per cent of his property

It has been a tough year for Gascoyne pastoralists with most of the area in drought and some areas recording the lowest rainfall on record.

Bureau of Meteorology figures show the area around the Exmouth Gulf and south of the Gascoyne River in the Shires of Carnarvon and Upper Gascoyne were most severely affected, receiving very little rainfall in winter.

Bureau meteorologist Glen Cook said coastal WA south of Exmouth Gulf had received fewer cold fronts than average through winter, causing lower rainfalls.

The outlook for summer is not looking good either with above average temperatures and low rainfall expected, Mr Cook said.

The region was mainly dependent on winter rainfall and would usually receive rain only in summer in the case of a cyclone or tropical low but he said northern Australia could expect a weak monsoonal season.

“Having said that you only need one good tropical cyclone or tropical low to come through to give you that rain,” he said.

“But it’s not looking very positive because we are having a late start to the (cyclone) season.”

Wahroonga Station lessee Guy Morrison said the low rainfall had meant land burnt in the January bushfires had not recovered and, as a result, he had to destock.

Mr Morrison, who runs merino sheep on his southern Carnarvon station, lost about 70 per cent of his grazing land to the fire.

“We have had to send 1400 lambs down south,” he said. “The country is really dry and there is a lack of feed. Summer rain would be good but we don’t depend on it.”

John Craig from Marron Station said he had not restocked since the fires burnt about 80 per cent of his property earlier in the year.

Mr Craig said it was difficult to maintain financial commitments with little income.

“We live in a desert so we expect droughts,” he said.

“It’s other economic factors that are always increasing like rents and licences that make things difficult.”


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