Koala hydration stations installed around Warialda

As drought conditions wreak havoc on farmers, stock and wildlife, a community has band together to help the local koala population.

Numerous water stations have been installed around Warialda to keep these furry, native animals hydrated and stress-free.

After noticing increased activity of koalas searching for water sources around Warialda, citizen scientist John Hodge sprung into action.

He had heard of a water station initiative being established at Gunnedah and approached Gwydir Shire Council with a similar proposal.

After discussions with the Office of Environment and Heritage, the project was able to secure funding to cover the costs of the pipes, two water dishes and bobcat hire. Gwydir Shire Council installed the line, metering and dishes. They also covered the costs for a water trough for other native wildlife.

Mr Hodge said koalas relied on eucalyptus leaves as their main source of food and hydration. However, dry conditions were causing low moisture in the leaves currently being consumed.

"Since koalas are dehydrated, they're further stressed and they are even more vulnerable to be attacked by pets and stray dogs or hit by a car as a result of searching for other sources of water.

The stations have been installed.

The stations have been installed.

"Koalas have been sighted more regularly in Bingara along the river as it is a safe source of water.

"However here in Warialda, they're going into yards and crossing the road to the water treatment plant to access water and it won't be long until a koala is severely injured as a result."

Gwydir Shire Council's deputy general manager Leeah Daley said the project demonstrated what a community could achieve when focused on the same result.

"Drought is taking its toll on all the community; this intervention will hopefully keep some of our resident koalas and other wildlife safe from traffic and predators, now and in future extreme weather events."

Mr Hodge thanked OEH, council, Charlie Woollett for crafting poles and brackets, Peter Hall for the bobcat, Doug Hodge, McGregor Gourlay Warialda, the Men's Shed and Gwymac Landcare for their assistance.

With a plan to install more water stations on the north-west side of Warialda, Mr Hodge has asked residents to report any koala sightings by contacting the Warialda Information Centre on 6729 0046.