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Australian Drought May Force Entire Town to Evacuate February 7, 2014
Cloncurry, Australia, reservoir nearly dry from drought.
Cloncurry’s Chinaman Creek Dam is now at only 15 percent of capacity.
Residents of a gritty cowboy and mining town in Australia’s Queensland State may have to pack up and leave because of a protracted drought that has nearly exhausted their water supply.

Cloncurry’s mayor, Andrew Daniels, told reporters the toughest water restrictions are now in place with only bathing and cooking uses allowed.

He says that after two dry years, the community may have to switch to water from bore holes, which will require people to boil it for consumption.

If those sources dry up, he says all 3,000 residents could have to hit the road.

“It's a scary thought, but I'm hoping and praying that rain comes before we have to get to that,” Daniels told the Australian Associated Press.

In 2008, Cloncurry brought water in by rail from Mount Isa, 75 miles away.

But that’s not possible this time because the outback neighbor is also considering evacuation since its dwindling water supply is nearly gone as well.

The drought parching a wide swath of Australia is typically caused by the El Niño ocean-warming phenomenon in the Pacific.

But since there is currently no El Niño in progress, meteorologists say it’s impossible to say how much longer the exceptional dry spell will continue.

Photo: JPenny Timms - ABC (Australia) News