‘Worst ever’: Water delivery delays blow out to 3 months
THE region's water cartage wait times are tipped to become even more pressured over coming months as delivery delays blow out to three months.
With dire weather predicted into the new year and water demand intensifying, local carter Tony Axisa says he's juggling more than 200 phone calls a day for orders, meaning his customers ordering now will have to wait until the third week of February for a water delivery.
At the start of November, wait times for tank water deliveries doubled to four weeks with some companies, and the Alstonville Blu-Water owner predicted it will only get worse.
With many reports of water carters being too run off their feet to answer or return calls, Mr Axisa confirmed trying to access the necessity of water was "the worst it's ever been on the Northern Rivers."
"The level of demand is extreme, I've been doing this for nearly 10 years and the last three years we've had serious droughts," he said.
"We've got three ridged trucks that hold 13,000 L and they are all doing double shifts - so they are working 24 hours a day as we speak and probably doing about 50 loads a day."
He said he was booked out until the third week in February, although they would prioritise emergency calls.
"We've got people who have lived here for 30 years and have never brought water, buying water. Most people are calling either crying or just very upset."
He said the company was prioritising emergency calls which were described as "life threatening, or animals were on their last legs, elderly customers, or people who have been let down by other companies for six weeks which was becoming a normal occurrence".
"I've got customers that haven't had water for ten weeks because they'd booked with other carriers and when their date came around and they call to check their delivery the companies are saying the trucks broken down or they won't return calls," he said.
He urged customers to be patient and water conscious where they could be.
"Customers need to be patient, we are trying to get through as many as we can - but it's really difficult. That's why we are doing the 24-hour thing... we have three drivers on each truck now trying to get rid of this backlog.
Richmond Sand and Gravel in Lismore confirmed their next booking was from January 7. Water Please owner Jade Le Compte said his wait time was now seven weeks.