BRETT Tunstall had grand ambitions when he moved to Great Western.
The former Gippsland farmer bought a small property just north of the town after his wife "fell in love" with the quaint mud-brick house on the block.
But the family has since run into a serious problem: his dams can not hold any water.
Mr Tunstall said the previous owners had tried to make the dams bigger, and in doing so had cut through the clay, ruining the dams ability to retain water.
Mr Tunstall said without a reliable supply of water, he could not do any of the things he had envisioned.
"I'm up here trying to start a self-sustainable farming plot where we potentially want bees, pigs - a whole heap of stuff," he said.
"The property we bought has been re-vegetated and we were thinking of doing natural dyes and tea making.
"There's so many things you can effectively farm - but without fresh water, it becomes very problematic."
READ MORE FROM THE STAWELL-TIMES NEWS
- POLL: Should St Arnaud be renamed?
- Stawell experiences mild temperatures heading into the depth of Winter
- 'You should be proud': magistrate praises addict's turnaround
- Interactive Dark Matter visitors centre in pipeline
- Ararat engineer's year-long house search
- Hurdles still to overcome for junior seasons to go ahead
- Ratepayers give Northern Grampians below-average score in satisfaction survey
- Job losses in Wannon worse than other rural federal electorates in Victoria, Grattan Institute says
Mr Tunstall said there had been many ideas floated for fixing his issue.
M.C Dean Earthmoving's Martin Dean told the Stawell Times-News bentonite could be used quite effectively to fix cracked clay and leaking dams.
"It's a natural product from up Mildura way," he said.
"You throw it in with dams with water in it and wherever it's leaking it will fill up that area."
However Mr Tunstall's three large dams are mostly gravel, with no clay to be repaired.
Clay is crucial, but as Mr Tunstall and Grampians Excavation and Soil Yard's Jim Leithhead said, it can be prohibitively expensive.
"If you start importing clay, it costs a fortune," Mr Leithhead said.
While Mr Leithhead was not sure of the solution without seeing the dam, he said some people ran into the issue of putting dams on old creek beds.
"You have to really dig it out to get past the rock," Mr Leithhead said.
"But if you really get through it, there's normally good clay there."
Mr Tunstall said he was concerned there was no clay to be found.
Mr Tunstall said getting dams lined was also an expensive venture, while bore water was not an option.
Whatever it might but, Mr Tunstall was simply hopeful of finding a solution, as he is loving everything else about the region.
"We moved to the area because of the potential lifestyle here," he said.
"We have been welcomed by the community with open arms and it's already been a great move for us.
"This area from Stawell to Great Western is a fantastic community and is super friendly and there's so much potential here, but it comes down to water for someone who wants to run a small farm."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Northern Grampians shire, sign up here.