IS it too early for us to start hoping that the worst of this drought might finally be behind us?
As the COVID-19 pandemic has (rightly) dominated headlines across the region, across the state, across the country and across the world the past six months, the drought has battled to make an impact on the public consciousness.
Despite that, we know there are still areas doing it tough and we know that even when the drought conclusively breaks it will take a few seasons for all primary producers to recover from its impacts.
But, just maybe, there are signs that there's a good news story finally on the way.
Long-time Western Advocate rural correspondent John Seaman, a man who has lived in our district long enough to recognise the climate patterns better than most, writes this week that widespread rain across the Central Tablelands this week has "fallen at exactly the right time" for farmers now preparing their paddocks for spring.
"This week's rain measured from 40 to 80 millimetres and has caused rivers and creeks to carry muddy streams. Surely our major water storages will benefit from the district's rain at exactly the right time," Mr Seaman writes.
"We are starting to look at the end of winter, there are predictions of a strong La Nina weather event during spring and early summer and even the climate change doomists are quiet."
And it's not just families on the land starting to see reasons to be hopeful.
The water level at Bathurst's main storage, Ben Chifley Dam, is up over 40 per cent this week after falling below 30 per cent at the start of the year.
Continuing run-off from rain early this week is expected to see that figure rise again next week and forecast showers and storms over the next six months should keep topping it up.
If all goes well, water restrictions could be eased a little heading into the warmer months to help homeowners tend their lawns and gardens while last week's confirmation that the state government had committed an extra $10 million to the local water harvesting scheme and Winburndale Dam pipeline will ensure those projects are in place to help secure the city's water supply when the next dry times inevitably come round.
It's all adding up and pointing to better days ahead. We're not there yet but we'll take any good news we can at the moment.
What do you think?
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