Last river update from the mayor – for now

#This will be the last update until further required# 

Graeme Scheu Thursday 22 September, 2016 


Further to previous predictions, the McIntyre River rose to a level of 8.56 metres at 11.30am yesterday and is now falling ever so slowly (7.92 metres at 7.00am this morning). The reason for the slow fall is purely the volume of water in the river and the rain received Tuesday night over the catchment. That rain is all running off and is keeping the river at elevated levels. The good news is that it is slowly receding the whole catchment over with the exception of the McIntyre Brook which feeds into the McIntyre River. It remains steady for the moment but poses no threat. 

This event has highlighted the Age Old Saying – “No two floods are alike”. Three peaks in excess of 8 metres in 10 days is abnormal and long-time river watchers where left pondering over records to find comparisons. 1956 (pre levee bank) may have been the last time anything similar occurred albeit at much higher levels. Obviously, those years’ massive damage in town was experienced and it is timely that we remember the feats of one Vernon Redman and his crew for such a construction as the Goondiwindi Levee Bank. 

Obstructions like extra vegetation have proved a handful to those endeavouring to predict river heights. With the wonderful winter season already encountered, the extremely thick clover we believe was responsible for stopping some water from entering a number of side creeks, thus creating higher levels than the volume of water would normally predict. It is not an easy job. 

On most occasions, this crossing would have had nearly 1 metre of water over it at a similar river height yet the clover was so thick, it had not reached the causeway. Consequently, that water stays in the river banks. 

This event has been a major level for landholders west of Goondiwindi on the flood plain and that is the reason for BOM categorising the level as major. Whilst peaks in the town reach now ease, the situation west of Goondiwindi needs to be carefully monitored. Undoubtedly, what was looming as such a great year will take a massive hit in places and one can only feel for those landholders affected. 

The Dumaresq River at Texas and the McIntyre Brook at Inglewood experienced minor flood warnings and in those areas, levels are receding as well. 

The storm water drainage gates will remain closed and the pumps will be activated in town should the need arise until the river gets down below the 7 metre mark. Thankfully, no more rain is predicted this week. It was so pleasing to see the new pump system in full swing over a prolonged period and the process made the job that much easier. I am sure the public hardly even noticed the activation compared to the good old antiquated tractor/pumps and hoses that Council had to install each event in the past. 

Meanwhile, an event like this highlights the need when travelling to check the Main Roads update on 131940 and exercise caution. Social Media is a great thing but there is no substitute for accurate information. Back off a bit, adhere to flood markers when water is close to the road and remember, any sudden downpour can change the assessment. It takes a little bit of time to process any assessments and remember – IF ITS FLOODED – FORGET IT. 

As this will be the last update until further required, can I specially thank those that have assisted in getting the word to the public and also the staff of the Goondiwindi Regional Council, all of which do a wonderful job during these testing times. A rain event like this certainly leaves a trail of repair and I can assure residents that all repairs will be completed as soon as possible. But please be patient as there is enormous amount of repair work to be undertaken and it will take time. The picture...."this crossing would have had nearly 1 metre of water over it at a similar river height yet the clover was so thick, it had not reached the causeway."

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