Australia’s most trusted rural charity has experienced a drastic increase in the number of drinking water requests from Australian farmers.

Rural Aid has been delivering water tank refills to registered primary-producing families for several years.

In the past year, drinking water requests have increased by 250 per cent.

Rural Aid chief executive John Warlters said dry times have hit early and hit hard.

“Farmers around the country have been unsettled by how quickly the rain ‘tap’ has been turned off,” Mr Warlters said.

“In June last year, Rural Aid received six requests for a water tank refill. In June this year, Rural Aid received 21 requests for a water tank refill.

“It’s a huge increase and shows that the pain of low rainfall is already being felt in the bush,” he said.

“Rural Aid believes no Australian farmer should live without access to clean drinking water.”

In addition to paying for water carters to deliver fresh drinking water to farmers, Rural Aid also runs a tank delivery program.

Rural Aid has delivered 163 water tanks to primary-producing households across Australia in the past year alone.

East Gippsland dairy farmer Mark Laity faced severe drought, life-threatening bushfires and floods in the past five years.

Mark and his family ran out of drinking water in the drought and said the water tank he received from Rural Aid was a huge boost.

“There was no water left here at all, not even a drop in any of the dams; they were all bone dry,” Mr Laity said.

“The creek stopped running; the whole lot.”

Mr Laity said the water tank he received from Rural Aid provided much-needed water security.

“You didn’t realise how much you relied on it [water] and how much you actually did go through,” he said.

Following World Water Week (August 20 – 24), Rural Aid asks for the public’s help to top up the tanks.

“It’s our aim to deliver 500 full water tanks to Australian farmers and rural communities before 2025 to equip them for survival during future disaster events,” Mr Warlters said.

“Rural Aid is calling for Water Heroes in these dry times.”

For more information on Rural Aid’s Water Hero campaign, visit waterhero.ruralaid.org.au/