Turning wine into water?

Griffith winemaker donates water to Brewarrina 623km away

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With water resources in many communities like Brewarrina drying up, a lifeline has been thrown to the town from 623 kilometres away.

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Bill Calabria from Calabria Family Wines is donating a truck load of water in plastic wine bottles to the town of Brewarrina.

Bill Calabria from Calabria Family Wines is donating a truck load of water in plastic wine bottles to the town of Brewarrina.

The biblical transformation of water into wine is well-documented in the Gospel of John but in the state's Riverina it's more like wine into water.

With water resources in many communities like Brewarrina drying up, a lifeline has been thrown to the town from 623 kilometres away.

The town of Griffith has rallied to send bottled water to Brewarrina including semi-trailers loaded with water in plastic wine bottles donated from Calabria Family Wines.

"When a friend of mine told me there were people struggling for water to drink and to wash in we wanted to help out and send what we could to where they needed it the most," Bill Calabria from Calabria Family Wines said.

That friend was Dale McCleary who said a woman from Brewarrina told him: "you need three things in life, air, water and food".

"When one of those things is taken away from you, it makes it hard," Mr McCleary said.

"I can turn on the tap and drinking water comes out, but they don't have it."

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Griffith local Dale McCleary and Brewarrina Mayor Phillip O'Connor. Photo by Dale McCleary.

Griffith local Dale McCleary and Brewarrina Mayor Phillip O'Connor. Photo by Dale McCleary.

Mr Cleary first rallied his town of Griffith when a young mother from regional NSW posted on Facebook that she didn't have clean water for her baby after the first Menindee fish kill.

"I'm a grandfather and it devastated me," Mr McCleary said.

"I thought what could I do, I'm a long way from Menindee but I have a trailer and ute so I could take them water."

He posted a call-out for water on Facebook at 6.30am that day.

By 11am the ute and the trailer were filled.

The next day he had two pallets of water and by day three he could fill a small truck.

But in a week he had a semi-trailer truck of donated water.

"It became a little bit too big for what I could handle so a gentleman by the name of Greg Young from GJ and JG Young Transport in Griffith offered to transport the water for free," Mr McCleary said.

"For the hundreds of people who donated water initially from single bottles to pallets, they are the ones that also need to be thanked as without them I wouldn't have the truck load."

Then Mr McCleary said he then got in contact with the Brewarrina Mayor Phillip O'Connor who also needed water.

So they delivered the first truck load earlier this year and about to deliver another in two weeks time.

Brewarrina Shire mayor Phillip O'Connor said while they had water in the weir pool in town it was salty and the plant could not take all the salt levels out.

While he said it was not at dangerous level, people in town found it "hard to drink".

He said the townships of Goodooga and Weilmoringle were mainly on bore water and there had not been water in the river for years.

"No river is running," he said.

"We have landholders coming into town to take filtered water so they can have water for showers and fill up their water tanks.

Water in the Calabaria Family Wines bottles.

Water in the Calabaria Family Wines bottles.

"There are a lot of people worse than us."

In a video taken in February after the first delivery of water from Griffith Mr O'Connor thanked the people fro Griffith for the donated water.

"It hits you straight in the heart how good people are," he said.

"We are so lucky there are still good people in the world."

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