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Grantham Scrub waterhole all dried up

MEMORIES: Grantham Scrub farmers Fred Scott, John Sticklen and Alf Mischke stand in an overgrown government dam which has dried up for the first time since the 1920s.
MEMORIES: Grantham Scrub farmers Fred Scott, John Sticklen and Alf Mischke stand in an overgrown government dam which has dried up for the first time since the 1920s. Ali Kuchel

DRY, overgrown and unkempt - it's not exactly the dam three Grantham Scrub farmers remember.

Once a vital waterhole that farmers used to pump water for livestock is now a puddle of water pooled over copious amounts of mud.

At Christmas, grazier Fred Scott discovered it was bone dry.

"All I've got at the moment is a metre of water left in my last big dam... that's why I came down here to see how much water there was and I found it dry," Mr Scott said.

Joined by grazier John Sticklen and retired grazier Alf Mischke, the trio was shocked at how overgrown and empty the government dam had become.

From the age of 13, Mr Mischke carted water from the dam to his family's farm, where they used it for livestock, drinking and showering.

"It was never empty from 1928, as far as I know, until a week before Christmas," Mr Mischke said.

"I carted water I don't know how many times in droughts, the dam used to get down, ours would be dry, then we'd get a storm and we didn't have to worry for a while."

The dam was built by the government in 1907 as a resource for graziers in the Grantham Scrub area.

It used to take Mr Sticklen half an hour to fill his load with a firefighting pump.

"I used to cart two loads for 1000 cattle," he said.

The last time he carted water was 20 years ago to dairy cattle on Lilydale-Ma Ma Creek Rd.

"It was better carting water than trying to drive the cattle to it," he said.

Of his 24 dams on his property, one has about a metre of water remaining.

Mr Sticklen relies on his bore to water his cattle.

"The last couple of storms we've got some water in them," he said.

"I got some water in the dam but I was driving about 80 head over to the far end of the dam to water the cattle at the bore."

Although graziers don't rely on the old dam, they'd like to see it cleaned up for council use or to assist localfire brigades in emergencies.

"We'd like the council and the government to clean it out," Mr Scott said.

He said he had spoken with Lockyer Valley Regional Council Environment Portfolio councillor Jim McDonald about the clean-out process.

Cr McDonald said he had been in contact with the Department of Natural Resources to get the dam cleared.

"It really highlights the fact we're in a green drought at the moment and it highlights the fact we haven't had the rain that we need," Cr McDonald said.

Topics:  alf mischke grantham



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