5 Feb 2014

Drought town may evacuate

1:37 pm on 5 February 2014

After two years with virtually no rain, a town in Queensland is planning for the possible evacuation of its entire population as its water supplies run out.

Mayor Andrew Daniels of Cloncurry, near Mt Isa, says evacuating the 3000 residents will be a last resort.

But AAP reports that option is part of an emergency plan now being developed in response to dwindling water supplies.

Mr Daniels says residents are now on the toughest water restrictions: domestic use is restricted to the bare essentials of bathing and cooking.

He says the next step will be moving to bore water, which will require people to boil water to drink.

"It (evacuation) is an extreme move. It's the final straw. But people are really thinking about the dire position we're in," he told the ABC on Wednesday.

"It's a scary thought but I'm hoping and praying that rain comes before we have to get to that."

In 2008, Cloncurry was forced to bring water in by rail from Mt Isa, but that's not an option this time.

Despite good recent rain in Mt Isa, MP Robbie Katter said the city was also looking at evacuation as a worst case scenario.

He said the water supply at Lake Moondarra was just above 20 percent and weekend rain may have lifted that by three per cent, but that's nowhere near enough.

"We have to talk about the worst case scenarios," he told The Courier-Mail.