YOUR front page story "Murrurundry: climate records fall in winter heat" (Newcastle Herald, 10/9) quite rightly reminds our coastal neighbours just how severe the drought is in the Upper Hunter and much of regional NSW.
There is a positive end to the story in sight.
A 40km water pipeline to Murrurundi, drawing water from Glenbawn Dam, is currently being constructed and due to be completed in mid 2020. After that, the first water reticulation systems will be constructed in the villages of Blandford, Wingen and Parkville. We thank the NSW government for the funds to be able to action these projects.
Murrurundi has endured strict water restrictions over many years and I thank them for their considerable efforts. The pipeline will be life-changing for residents.
More broadly, the drought has heavily impacted not just our many farmers but the broader economy.
This region is still full of beauty, fresh air and wide open spaces, wildlife and wilderness areas, historic buildings, horse studs, and top-class country hospitality (and Murrurundi is well known for arts and crafts). It is also a wonderful region to consider raising your family. There are also lots of recreation activities including boating, kayaking, fishing or just cooling off in Lake Glenbawn.
A visit to the region is the easiest - and most enjoyable - way your readers can assist during the drought. I'd encourage them to google Upper Hunter Country Tourism.
Cr Wayne Bedggood, Mayor, Upper Hunter Shire Council
Failing the vulnerable
ARE we OK to help those who aren't? One night at Broadmeadow station this week, I noticed a young man who was confused and disoriented. He said he'd been dropped at the station by police after spending a night in the cells. He was carrying a plastic bag with medication and had been given a single journey rail ticket.
He wanted to get back to his family up north but was told that the next train wasn't until the following morning.
Are you ok? I asked. He wasn't. He had a mental illness. He had no phone, no wallet, nowhere to sleep.
I booked him a ticket on the train, bought him some food and loaned him my phone so he could tell his mum he was OK.
I tried to find somewhere for him to sleep but wasn't successful. He told me not to worry - he would sleep at the station. Next morning, I called in at the station to check he was OK and to give him a bit of money for food. My actions aren't altruistic; I would hope someone would do the same for one of my children.
I'm aware that I've only been privy to one side of the story, but can't help feeling disappointed in a police force that dropped this young man at the station with a single use rail ticket and no other support.
Seems we still have a long way to go with our own understanding of and compassion towards mental illness before we can say we are OK to support those who aren't.
Name and address withheld
A Stockton solution
WHEN are these people going to get it right? Stockton is a sand bar. It always was and it always will be. So if we want it to not periodically be washed away by natural, tidal nastiness then let's not blame global warming - extend the break wall at a right angle to the north for about 600m and guess what, problem solved.
It is time that the so-called greenies, probably all under 30 years of age, start to research history.
This is a very harsh, sunburnt country, so forget your global warming and get our very inefficient government to stop playing benevolent politics and spend our hard-won tax dollars on our country.
Fix these easy to fix, although expensive, problems.
A breakwater modification for Stockton, a pipeline network to divert periodic flood waters to storage or our desert areas would be a good start.
Ask the oldies, they have seen and heard it all, so stop whining and do something about it.
Dennis Crampton, Redhead
SMOKES AND FIRE
LAST Friday, on my way to Queensland, I was part of the conga line of white utes with glow in the dark stickers and whippy aerials travelling through Singleton and Ravensworth at approximately 5.45am.
After passing several illuminated sign boards announcing the total fire ban, I witnessed what is obviously the customary tossing of a lit cigarette out the window just before entering the mine site or coal washery.
I understand these are probably smoke-free job sites, but surely it doesn't take too much intelligence to work out how stupid and irresponsible this is.
Imagine if a bushfire took hold of a coal dump or the bone dry grass around the area.
Maybe someone with some brains in the mine management might look at installing large tubs of wet sand at the entrances as butt-out bins.
The drivers wouldn't even have to leave their cosy vehicles, just wind the window down and drop the ciggy in. Better still, give up the habit.
Peter Grant, Speers Point
Stop bushfire blame game
The Greens Party should hang its heads in shame.
It has shown its true colours by using the latest bushfire devastation in northern NSW and Queensland as an opportunity to advance their alarmist climate change stance.
It is beyond belief that people would be so gullible as to swallow the Greens' rants that the latest bushfires are a direct result of CO2 from coal mines and man-made pollution.
This is Australia, and everyone who has studied history will know it is a land that suffers floods and droughts.
The Greens should be ashamed of the lies that they spread which causes alarm among young Australians, does nothing to help those people suffering the loss of their properties, livestock and livelihoods, and is not backed by any scientific evidence as they would let us believe.
Greg Harborne, Warabrook
SETTING A LOW BAR
I DON'T believe that the government should be allowed the "get out of gaol free" card regarding our economy by simply claiming "well we are doing better than all the other developed countries".
To compare Australia with our small population and abundance of land and minerals, to over-populated struggling countries is nonsense.
Incompetent people in political power, with no idea of what to do, and not even enough sense to learn from past mistakes or listen to good advice, is what is holding us back and always will until the people demand change.