There's no wall of water coming down the Murray but the incident controller for the cross-agencies incident management team said people still need to make sure they are prepared for every outcome.
While Andrew Gill yesterday downgraded Echuca’s peak from 93.9m to 93.7m the forecast for Torrumbarry has been increased from moderate flood risk to major.
Mr Gill said a public meeting will be held in Echuca tomorrow night at the basketball stadium at 244 High St South at 6pm to provide a detailed update on conditions.
“If you have any concerns or questions we urge you to attend the meeting and listen to the latest advice and we will do our best to answer any issues anyone has,” Mr Gill said.
“The meeting is open to everyone, and there is a lot of uninformed comment getting around, especially on social media, so if you want to hear from the people who know, come to the meeting,” he said.
“We are also planning another meeting for Torrumbarry later this week, and should have a day, time and place sorted by tomorrow (Tuesday).
“Yes, we have upgraded Torrumbarry’s warning but the shift has only been from 7.6m to 7.8m.”
Mr Gill said while the peak is now higher than expected incident control is still not expecting any serious flooding at Torrumbarry.
But said the smart move is to always plan for the worst-case scenario.
“Incident control will have a technical officer on the ground at Torrumbarry today (Monday), working with locals to get the best local advice, inspecting conditions and assessing any other steps we need to take,” he said.
“The Murray is due to peak at Echuca-Moama on the 16th and Torrumbarry on the 19th.”
According to the SES’s local flood guide for Echuca, at 93.6m flooding occurs in some parts of the town to the west of the Campaspe River, and the lower end of the Campaspe Esplanade becomes impassable.
Incident control said sandbags and sand would be available for Torrumbarry at the CFA centre in Headworks Rd.
However, following a community meeting in Torrumbarry on Friday night, which saw the pub packed out, spokesman Snow Williams said he thought that would be relocated to the back of the hall on Murray Valley Hwy where there would be more room.
There have been calls for excavators to be brought in to fill holes cut through levee banks by campers and motorbike riders for river access but the community was going to work with incident control.
“Andrew Gill has been doing a good job of keeping in touch and keeping us informed and we are happy to work with him and his group,” Mr Williams said.
“But if things start looking a little shakier we’ll be calling a meeting sooner rather than later so we can do something about it,” he said.
Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh also attended the Torrumbarry meeting and said while he was happy for an engineer’s assessment of the banks he was adamant the best outcome was moving an excavator in to fill those gaps properly, not rely on last-minute sandbagging.
“I don’t think people with shovels would be the answer if we have to rely on those levees, do the inspection by all means but then let’s get the machinery in there,” Mr Walsh said.
Historically, there have been more than 16 significant floods since 1867 in Campaspe Shire, caused by overflows from the Campaspe, Murray and Goulburn rivers.
Echuca’s highest recorded flood was in 1870 when the river reached 96.2m, while the 1993 flood reached 94.77m.
As of October 7 the following roads within Murray River Council are closed due to water over the road:
■ Cornalla Rd closed between Cornalla West and Burge Rd
■ Leetham Rd between Southdown Rd and Murray River Council boundary with Edward River Council
■ Gathen Rd from Barham Rd to Leetham Rd
■ Old Barham Rd
■ Lower River Rd from Murray River Council boundary with Berrigan Shire Council to Tocumwal
■ Millewa Rd from Picnic Point to Lower River/Aratula Rd intersection
■ Stevens Weir Rd at Calimo Rd
There is water over the causeway on Picnic Point Rd but it remains open with indicators showing the depth of water.
Water is also over the road on Calimo Rd and Colligen Creek East Rd but they both remain open.
Campaspe Shire has encouraged people to visit the Bureau of Meteorology to monitor river levels (www.bom.gov.au/vic/warnings/), VicRoads for road closures (www.traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au/) and (www.emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/) for emergency warnings.
People from all walks of life lend a hand
WHEN the call went out for help they came from far and wide.
People from Tatura turned up, Barely Standing, a band playing a weekend gig at the American, downed guitars and picked up shovels.
Echuca United footballers and netballers were there, joined by girls from an Echuca gym, the Hurn family from Murray River Holiday Park, staff from the River Thai restaurant and locals no-one knew wandered in to help for a few hours, and a few days.
In the end this disparate group of community contributors had churned their way through about 60 cubic metres of sand, filling more than 2000 sandbags to help protect Moama Riverside Holiday Park from the rising Murray River.
Owners Peter and Jennifer Warnett said they were overwhelmed by the people who turned up to help.
“We have had to close our usual entrance because of water over the road, and open the gate on Cobb Hwy,” Mr Warnett said.
“Historically this place has gone under, but not since the flood in the early ’90s, but we will be using these sandbags at our southern end,” he said.
“We have blocked off our last eight cabins as a precaution, but hopefully we have got it all wrong.
‘‘We’ll just have to wait and wee what happens now.”
No change to Risk of Spill in Murray or Campaspe systems
There is no change to the risk of spill in the Murray or Campaspe systems, the Resource Manager for northern Victoria announced today.
Resource Manager for northern Victoria Mark Bailey said the risk of spill in the Murray and Campaspe systems during 2016/17 remained above the 10 per cent threshold needed for a declaration to be made.
"Lake Hume and Lake Eppalock are spilling", Dr Bailey said.
"Seasonal rainfall outlooks issued by the Bureau of Meteorology suggest it will be some time before a low risk of spill is declared.
"All of the water held in spillable water accounts in the Murray system has been deducted due to the volume of water that has spilled from Lake Hume in recent weeks.
"No further deductions will occur unless a seasonal determination against low-reliability water shares is announced for the Murray system and Lake Hume is still at risk of spilling.
"Lake Eppalock started spilling on October 3. Water will be deducted from spillable water accounts in the Campaspe system.
"The volume of the deductions will be assessed and applied with the next seasonal determination update on October 17."
Dr Bailey added the risk of spill assessment did not describe the chances of flooding in the Murray or Campaspe systems.
He reminded the public that the risk of spill relates to the availability of water in spillable water accounts and does not refer to flood risks downstream of the storages.
Allocation trade from New South Wales to Victoria is limited to the lesser of a net annual volume of 200 GL or a volume that keeps the risk of spill in the Murray system below 50 per cent. As the risk of spill in the Murray system is above 50 per cent, trade from New South Wales to Victoria is limited to the volume traded from Victoria to New South Wales since September 1, 2016.
Customers participating in the water trading market can monitor trade availability on the Water Register website.
Next announcement on risk of spill
The risk of spill in the Murray and Campaspe systems will be updated on Thursday November 10, 2016.
For information about the Resource Manager for northern Victorian regulated water systems, including seasonal determinations and resource availability, please visit www.nvrm.net.au. The status of Victorian shares of Murray storages is available at the MDBA website.
Urgent road repairs continue across flood-affected Victoria
VicRoads maintenance crews are working hard to repair damaged roads across Victoria after prolonged, constant rain, damaging winds and floodwaters.
VicRoads regional director Mal Kersting said the immediate focus is on temporary repairs on key freeways, highways and major roads that have high traffic volumes.
“In some parts of the state, it is still too early to fully and accurately measure the impact of flooding. But we’re working closely with local councils to assess the full impact of damage in heavily-affected areas.
“Safety is the number one priority and roads will not be reopened until it is safe to do so. Flood water can damage the structure of the road or bridges, which may look fine but may not be safe. If a road is closed it's for a reason - don't risk it,” Mr Kersting said.
One of the biggest challenges maintenance crews face is repairing potholes caused by water seeping into cracks in roads, which then spreads underneath and weakens the road’s surface.
”We’re dealing with many potholes, and our maintenance crews are working around the clock to address and repair as many defects as possible to ensure safety across the region for all road users.
“The more the weight and volume of cars and trucks that pass over weak spots, the more a road’s surface begins to break up. Depending on the location and traffic types, a small crack in a road can turn into a hazardous pothole in a matter of a few hours,” Mr Kersting said.
Despite the poor weather conditions, VicRoads patrols and inspectors are continuously out on the road assessing the network, identifying and reporting hazards.
“As a safety measure, we often carry out temporary pothole repairs and patching until we can come back with more permanent repairs. These works mean that in many locations the speed limit has been reduced to allow the works to be done as safely and quickly as possible.
“Please be patient with us and when the weather gets drier for longer, our crews will be out there undertaking more permanent repairs. We plead for motorists to slow down and obey any speed restrictions to ensure the safety of road workers, who are working in some very challenging conditions,” Mr Kersting said.
Never walk, ride or drive through floodwater. We urge you to drive to the road conditions and obey signage.
For more information about road closures and detours, visit traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au or to report a road hazard call 13 11 70.