NOW: Vanessa Southey stands near one of the full dams on her Ridgelands property.
NOW: Vanessa Southey stands near one of the full dams on her Ridgelands property.

Alton Downs water crisis averted - for now

WHAT a difference seven weeks and some rain makes.

These photos show the amazing transformation of Russ Tindall and Vanessa Southey’s Kynuna Lodge property at Ridgelands, on Rockhampton’s outskirts.

In mid-January, seven of the couple’s nine dams were dry and the two that did have some water were almost out.

Kynuna Lodge on Rockhampton’s outskirts yesterday resembled something vastly different from seven weeks ago (see comparison pic below).
Kynuna Lodge on Rockhampton’s outskirts yesterday resembled something vastly different from seven weeks ago (see comparison pic below).

At that time, a community water crisis meeting had just been held at the Alton Downs Hall where State Member for Mirani Stephen Andrew heard the concerns of residents suffering from the ongoing drought.

That meeting heard that despite talk for decades, at community forums and also at various levels of government, the people of Alton Downs and surrounds had never been connected to a main water pipeline servicing the area.

This January 15 photo shows Russ Tindall and Vanessa Southey's Ridgelands property crippled by drought.
This January 15 photo shows Russ Tindall and Vanessa Southey's Ridgelands property crippled by drought.

Some residents were so desperate to source water for livestock, they made a formal request for permission to tap into the Ridgelands State School pipeline, but that ­option was ruled out by the Queensland Government.

On Monday, Ms Southey said all nine dams at Kynuna Lodge were now full and some overflowing after recent rainfall.

She also revealed that after their drought struggles were told in The Morning Bulletin in

JANUARY 15, 2020: Russ Tindall walks around one of the dry dams on his Ridgelands property (see comparison picture below).
JANUARY 15, 2020: Russ Tindall walks around one of the dry dams on his Ridgelands property (see comparison picture below).

January, they were contacted within a week by Rockhampton Regional Council who threw them a lifeline.

“Council rang us and said ‘what do you want?’,” she said.

“I told them I wanted to get our paperwork processed so that we can get a pump site approved.

“I just got the paperwork back last week signed from the council and now I’ve just got to take it to the Department of Natural Resources for them to do their part.

“But the council has approved the easement on the allotment and that will give us somewhere to put a pump to be able to pump from the river.

“We’ve got to thank you blokes, the media.

“We’d been trying to get sense out of someone for like six months and just kept getting the run around.

“Not even a week after your coverage, the council was calling us asking how they could help.”

YESTERDAY: Vanessa Southey looks over a full dam which only seven weeks ago was bone dry.
YESTERDAY: Vanessa Southey looks over a full dam which only seven weeks ago was bone dry.

Alton Downs resident Peter Anderson, who is challenging incumbent Division 5 councillor Cherie Rutherford at the upcoming election, said the recent rain had made a huge difference to the area.

“A lot of people have got full dams now,” Mr Anderson said.

“It has been very good rain for everyone. I’m trying to put sorghum in at the moment.

“Every time I go to plant, it rains.”

Ms Southey said she would still like to see a water pipeline built to service Alton Downs and surrounding communities.

“Absolutely, we don’t want to stop on that (issue) at all.”



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