Bushie?s prediction of saving rain comes true

LATE last week as fires blackened large tracts of the Tweed, a "bushie" from the back of Chillingham told shopkeepers in Murwillumbah to expect "five to six inches of rain before the end of October".

They grinned politely, so the gossip goes, and asked him how he knew.

He could just feel it, he replied, and had never been wrong.

Yesterday as farmers rejoiced at the steady soaking rain that has filled dams and started some creeks flowing again, chairman of the Combined Tweed Rural Industries Association Col Brooks reckoned the old bloke would be pretty spot-on.

"Some people have had over four inches now," he said.

Mr Brooks estimated his own farm at Kynnumboon just north of Murwillumbah had received 75mm (about 3ins) of rain overnight and possibly another 20mm yesterday morning. But with parched soil thirstily soaking up the rain, Mr Brooks said more was needed before many of the area's dry gullies could again be called creeks.

"My dam is virtually back to full again. Our creek is not running though," he said.

"It's certainly been a saviour for a lot of farmers feed-wise. You won't want to stand still too long now or the grass will grow through your feet."

Indeed the rain has been a saviour not only for farmers but householders in the village of Tyalgum, at the back of the Tweed Valley, who had faced a ban on using water outside their homes after the local creek stopped flowing through the town weir last week.

Tweed Shire Council water manager David Oxenham said the council had also been able to "turn off the valve" letting water out of the Clarrie Hall Dam to replenish the Tweed River and Bray Park weir which provides town water for most of the shire.

He said the dam was at 88 per cent capacity and "just starting to rise".

Further south, just as Byron Shire Council announced increased water restrictions for Mullumbimby, the rains came down.

Mullumbimby recorded 126mm up til 9am yesterday. Byron Shire Council's water director Phil Warner said the level four water restrictions that kicked in yesterday morning would stay in place until he could be certain that the water levels in Laverty's Gap Weir, which holds Mullumbimby's water supply, had stabilised.

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