Run out of water and losing crops - Mark, Col and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops.
Run out of water and losing crops - Mark, Col and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops. Valerie Horton

Drought disaster: "We're in serious trouble now”

FOUR week's worth of water is all that stands between a local farming family and the end of their livelihood.

The Ward family has stuck together through everything, from floods to hail storms that punched holes through their shed, to watching crops flattened several times, but without water they could lose everything.

 

Run out of water and losing crops - Bill Ward of Bilcormack Enterprises relies on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate his small crops.
Run out of water and losing crops - Bill Ward of Bilcormack Enterprises relies on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate his small crops. Valerie Horton

"We're in serious trouble now ... this might break us - after 13 years we might lose everything," Mark said.

The Ward family has been growing small vegetable crops commercially for about 16 years and started supplying to the local markets across the Fraser Coast in 2016.

"This is our everything - we've put our entire lives work into this property," Mark said.

Brothers Mark and Colin and their father Bill live at the family farm near the prison in Maryborough.

Bill said after checking the dam this week, they'd be lucky to have about five mega litres of water left which equates to about four week's worth.

 

Run out of water and losing crops - Col, Mark and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops.
Run out of water and losing crops - Col, Mark and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops. Valerie Horton

At full capacity the dam holds about 70-80 mega litres.

"A week ago we would have had about two month's worth," Bill said.

Maryborough experienced it's driest January in a decade, not to mention a record breaking maximum.

After setting up smaller blocks and irrigation systems to supply to the local market, Bill said they had run out of funds to drill for water and install an underground pump.

"We have good water underground," he said.

 

Run out of water and losing crops - Col, Mark and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops.
Run out of water and losing crops - Col, Mark and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops. Valerie Horton

The farmers have always worked for everything on their own, but after a push from family and friends they have no choice but to reach out for help from the community.

"We don't like asking for help but we have no choice," Bill said.

 

Run out of water and losing crops - Col, Mark and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops.
Run out of water and losing crops - Col, Mark and Bill Ward, of Bilcormack Enterprises, rely on the rapidly dwindling supply of dam water, to irrigate their small crops. Valerie Horton

A GoFundMe page 'Save a local farming family' has been set up. To hear more about their story or to donate click here.

The Ward family would like to one day supply exclusively to the local Fraser Coast market.


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