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Drought drives farmers to recycled water

More Macedon Ranges farmers are switching to recycled water as concern about low rainfall continues to mount.

Bureau of Meteorology figures show that just 139 millimetres fell between January and April, well below the long-term average for those months of 211.8 millimetres.

Eleven municipalities in central and western Victoria are currently classed as drought affected, with Bendigo council last week deciding to write to the state government asking to be added to the list.

Macedon Ranges council economic development and tourism manager Kylie Lethbridge said that while water was high on the agenda for last week’s meeting of the shire’s agribusiness forum, the council had yet to request drought status.

‘‘However, it is an ongoing concern, particularly due to the recent low rainfall,’’ she said.

Western Water customer and community relations general manager Graham Holt said 15 new customers had hooked up to the authority’s recycled water schemes in Gisborne, Gisborne South, Woodend, Romsey and Riddells Creek in the past two years.

Wheat and sheep farmer Angus Crawford recently had recycled water connected to the 2023-hectare property he leases near Riddells Creek. He said the move would increase the value of his lambs by more than $20 per head.

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