The West

Forecast rain is not enough
Forecast rain is not enough

More rain is on the way for Manjimup but the downpour will do little to ease the pain of a drying climate.

While the shire has received a deluge in the past few days, the overall picture is still a troubling one for most farmers and the community as a whole.

After the driest July on record — with just 42mm of rain recorded compared to an average of 174.5mm — Manjimup is now facing the prospect of a bleak threemonth forecast.

Bureau of Meteorology media manager Neil Bennett said the outlook was for at best average rainfall this spring but even this was not guaranteed.

‘‘We’re looking at 94.8mm of rain so far for August and the monthly average is 146.3mm, so despite the recent wet weather we’re still significantly behind,’’ he said.

‘‘The problem is even if we receive average rainfall for the next two or three months we’ll still be way behind due to the horrendous deficit in July and May.’’

Showers are forecastto continue tothe end of the week, with cooler temperatures and possible hail today. The low rainfall is of particular concern for farmers, many of whom are battling low dams levels due to the drying climate.

WA Farmers Lower South West zone president Tony Pratico said it was bad news for everyone, not just farmers. \

‘‘Everyone needs the rain, not just farmers. If we don’t get what we need everyone’s lifestyle will be affected,’’ he said.

‘‘Where will the food come from? We are all in this crisis together and we will all wear the cost. Farmers bear the immediate brunt, but eventually the effects are passed on to everybody else.’’

Lower rainfall will result in decreased productivity from the region unless action is taken, Mr Pratico added.

‘‘WA Farmers has been working with the State Government on developing water efficiencies and ways to manage the drying climate,’’ he said.

‘‘We use fertilisers more smartly than ever before, to minimise the polluting effects on waterways, and no doubt the next generation of farmers will have to do even more.’’

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