Sunday, November 28, 2021

On the road to recovery: Finish delivers water tanks to Aussie farmers impacted by drought

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Fiona's farm from the air
Fiona Rourke’s Shepparton property from the air. Photo: finishWaterWaste

finishWaterWaste, Media Release, 25 November 2021

Today, a Victorian farmer will receive a donation of a critical 22,500L tank and water to help assist in the recovery from drought thanks to the #FinishWaterWaste initiative.

Almost half of Australia’s farms are serviced by the Murray-Darling Basin’s Victorian waterways, including dairy farmer Fiona Rourke’s property near Shepparton. In 2018-2019 the Murray-Darling Basin had its lowest two-year rainfall on record, as well as limited recovery in its water storage levels since 2010.

Longer, more intense droughts are expected as global average temperatures rise, and water security is put under further strain.

Finish, in partnership with Rural Aid and supported by Coles, is delivering water tanks to Australian farmers. These tanks, delivered over the next six months, will help to ensure that more precious rain is captured, and the families that receive them are better positioned for the next dry spell.

Dam levels across Victoria continue to be of concern as one-third of Victoria’s water catchments have not recovered from the Millennium Drought, putting at risk the livelihoods of rural enterprises and communities that were dependent on reliable access to water.

Photo: finishWaterWaste

Fiona said: “The Millennium Drought and those that followed devastated our farmlands, communities and livelihoods. There is a persistent uncertainty and pressure on water availability in our region, causing great strain on our livestock and ability to care for our families, so the delivery of this water tank makes a big difference in supporting farming communities into the future. On behalf of my farming community, I would like to thank Finish, Rural Aid and Coles for their support of this much needed initiative. I also encourage other rural Australians struggling through drought recovery to reach out to Rural Aid for support.”

This effort is all part of #FinishWaterWaste, an initiative that came from the insight that by simply stopping the habit of pre-rinsing dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher, Australians could save up to 40 litres of water per load and collectively save 20 billion litres of water in just one year.

Since the start of the #FinishWaterWaste initiative in 2019, Finish has donated more than 14 million litres of water to drought-affected Australians through its ongoing partnership with Rural Aid. Now in 2021, it will encourage Aussies to prioritise water security to help safeguard our farmers against future drought.

Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters, said: “Every drop of water is precious, so to be part of an initiative that encourages us to use it wisely while also assisting our farmers is especially powerful.

“While many farmers are experiencing their first decent run of the seasons in years, there is still a long way to go before farmers are back on track, financially and emotionally. The memories of empty tanks and dusty paddocks are just below the surface for many. 

Photo: finishWaterWaste

“Having an extra tank at home will make the drought recovery a little easier for our farmers. It will also give them an added safety net heading into the next dry period. Improved water security and retention can help lessen the impact of drought.”

Large parts of the country have experienced good rain in the past six months. However, drought is still very real for many farming families and rural communities. Coles General Manager of Non-Food, Jonathan Torr, was pleased to support #FinishWaterWaste as it aligns with Coles’ Sustainability Strategy focus areas of Together to Zero and Better Together.

“We know that there are farmers in parts of Australia who remain affected by drought. At Coles, we have an ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket and this initiative encourages Australians to save water while at the same time supporting drought-affected communities. Together to Zero and Better Together highlights Coles’ ambition to reduce its environmental impact while acknowledging that when we work together, we can make a real difference, especially to the communities in which we live and work.”

Reckitt Hygiene Regional Director, Oliver Tatlow, said: “The Shepparton farming community has faced incredible strain in recent months, both from Victoria’s water resources that continue to be under pressure and the impact the pandemic has had on livelihoods. So, we’re incredibly pleased we can support our farmers in this region to capture precious rainfall today and into the future, giving them, their families and properties water security.

“Thanks to our partners Rural Aid and Coles, we’ve been able to make this possible, and we look forward to continue delivering more critical water tanks to help ensure our Victorian farmers are provided with the resources needed to become drought resilient in the future.”

Photo: finishWaterWaste

For more information on the campaign and to see T&Cs, visit: finishwaterwaste.com.au.

Related story: Finish celebrates National Water Week, delivering water and tanks to Aussie farmers in need

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