News

Clearing up our rain confusion

by
October 05, 2016

Concerns rose after Lake Eppalock filled and water started going over the spillway on Monday morning.

The rain keeps falling and concerns levels keep rising as flood warnings for key rivers in our region keep being ratcheted higher.

On Monday night hundreds of people swamped a community meeting in Rochester called to allay fears of potential flooding to the area.

SES north-west representative Mark Cattell told the meeting there was no immediate threat of flooding.

Concerns rose fast after Lake Eppalock filled and water started going over the spillway on Monday morning.

The last time that happened was in January 2011 when 80 per cent of Rochester went under water in the worst floods to ever hit the town.

But Mr Cattell said the current spillage was a long way off reaching the same level as five years ago.

‘‘At the moment it’s only spilling 1600 megalitres per day and it’s not expected to spill much more than that,’’ he said.

‘‘To put that into perspective, the flow in 2011 was 80,060 meglitres per day. So we’re a long way from that one.’’

But the recent heavy rainfall has had an impact on Rochester’s Murray Goulburn facility, which began discharging its treated wastewater into the Campaspe River yesterday after its storage ponds reached capacity.

A Murray Goulburn spokesperson said the activity had only been undertaken due to the urgency of the situation and it not happened since the 2011 floods.

‘‘MG stores treated dairy processing wastewater in lagoons at the Rochester site and disposes of it via irrigation of local farmland,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘In normal years this provides a welcome additional source of irrigation water for these farms.

‘‘However due to the exceptionally heavy rainfall over recent months it has not been possible to carry out our normal schedule of irrigation.”

The 80-plus millimetres of rain which has fallen on Echuca in September, combined with rising river levels, is starting to negatively impact the community as events are cancelled and closures enforced.

Campaspe shire announced the temporary closure of Scenic Drive, Echuca, and Riverboat Dock to vehicle traffic due to high river levels.

Vehicles can still access the Victoria Park boat ramp but the Shire is reminding users to remain alert and watch out for debris in the water.

Both areas remain open to pedestrians, including access to the paddlesteamers at Riverboat Dock. Water levels will be monitored and further updates provided.

Parks and gardens teams have had to delay their regular mowing program due to wetter weather making the ground too soft for some of the heavier equipment.

“Our parks and gardens staff are working hard to keep the new growth under control,” regulatory and community services general manager Paul McKenzie said.

“This time last year we were facing drought conditions, meaning we were able to easily mow public spaces.

“However with recent rain events and more forecast, we are finding that our equipment is simply unable to do the job due to water on the ground and boggy conditions.”

Roadside slashing has also been delayed, due to wet weather and cooler conditions.

Moama RSL’s Garry Armstrong said dinner cruises on the MV Mary Ann were cancelled at the weekend.

‘‘We made the decision to stop cruising at night for safety reasons due to rising river levels and possible debris in the water,” he said.

“We had the ability to continue to trade as a cafe at our mooring, which remained open from 10am-3pm.’’

The Barrie Beehag ski race has been postponed until April 29 next year, while the Procal Dairies Gunbower Gold Cup, which was due to be run last Friday, was also cancelled due to wet weather.

Echuca Race Club general manager Leigh Newton said Monday’s races were run, with only some minor delays due to heavy rain Monday afternoon, but trials yesterday did cut the track up.

He said with warmer weather later this week it should be repaired for the next meeting later this month.

Meanwhile out on the farm the wet conditions are making life on the land pretty tough.
Mud continues to plague dairy farmers with many resorting to walking their cows to the dairy because they can no longer use vehicles in the heavy mud.

Crops are starting to fall over and yellow while the silage season appears to be all but lost, although farmers are still hopeful of a break in the weather to get the mowers in.

Some farmers are fearful of wet conditions continuing and jeopardising the approaching hay season.

Caldwell farmer John Douglas is looking to sow rice and is hopeful he can get his crop in.
‘‘We are within the sowing window (October 10 to early November) and if we can get some wind, dry weather and warmer conditions it will be all systems go,’’ Mr Douglas said.

He said he will be engaging in some aerial spraying for his crops and then another 10-20mm would be required in a few weeks for grain fill.

“However with recent rain events and more forecast, we are finding that our equipment is simply unable to do the job due to water on the ground and boggy conditions.”

Roadside slashing has also been delayed, due to wet weather and cooler conditions.

Moama RSL’s Garry Armstrong said dinner cruises on the MV Mary Ann were cancelled at the weekend.

‘‘We made the decision to stop cruising at night for safety reasons due to rising river levels and possible debris in the water,” he said.

“We had the ability to continue to trade as a cafe at our mooring, which remained open from 10am-3pm.’’

The Barrie Beehag ski race has been postponed until April 29 next year, while the Procal Dairies Gunbower Gold Cup, which was due to be run last Friday, was also cancelled due to wet weather.

Echuca Race Club general manager Leigh Newton said Monday’s races were run, with only some minor delays due to heavy rain Monday afternoon, but trials yesterday did cut the track up.

He said with warmer weather later this week it should be repaired for the next meeting later this month.

Meanwhile out on the farm the wet conditions are making life on the land pretty tough.

Mud continues to plague dairy farmers with many resorting to walking their cows to the dairy because they can no longer use vehicles in the heavy mud.

Crops are starting to fall over and yellow while the silage season appears to be all but lost, although farmers are still hopeful of a break in the weather to get the mowers in.

Some farmers are fearful of wet conditions continuing and jeopardising the approaching hay season.

Caldwell farmer John Douglas is looking to sow rice and is hopeful he can get his crop in.

‘‘We are within the sowing window (October 10 to early November) and if we can get some wind, dry weather and warmer conditions it will be all systems go,’’ Mr Douglas said.

He said he will be engaging in some aerial spraying for his crops and then another 10-20mm would be required in a few weeks for grain fill.

By
More in Riverine Herald
Login Sign Up

Dummy text