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Menindee awaits news on handling all that water

Tuesday, 14th December, 2010

More water could be released from the Menindee Lakes from as early as today as floodwaters from the north approach More water could be released from the Menindee Lakes from as early as today as floodwaters from the north approach

A decision to increase flows from the Menindee Lakes will be made today as floodwaters begin to encroach on some homes in the town.

One resident, whose home is on Irrigation Way, has moved out while others remain at the ready pending a State Water decision to increase releases by as much as 5,000 megalitres per day (mL/d).

Rain in the catchment to the north and east of Menindee have seen inflows at Lake Wetherell at almost 20,000 mL/d, State Water said. 

It recently lifted its outflows from 16,500 mL/d to just under 19,000 mL/d. While it was still at least six weeks away, another huge flood of water iscoming through following rain that has left towns and cities in the east of NSW inundated.

State Water's Barry Philp said while there were only one or two homes at risk of flooding, at 24,000mL/d 12 homes in Menindee would go under.

He said they now had to find room for the extra floodwater and that meant today as floodwaters from the increasing flows downstream.

"Currently there is 19,800 mL/d coming into Lake Wetherell," Mr Philp said. "We need to make air space in the lakes. "Lake Wetherell is dropping two to three centimetres per day."

With the lakes at 107 per cent Mr Philp said it was now a balancing act between finding space, releasing water and preventing flooding.

"It is a balancing act," he said. "We don't plan to increase releases to flood people (but) we do have to accommodate the huge (inflows)."

Mr Philp said not until the water began peaking upstream would we know how much water could pass through the lakes. 

State Emergency Service crews are on standby while the Central Darling Shire Council is using a grader and scraper to build up roads so residents had access to their homes for longer.

Mr Philp said Menindee was not at risk and that people visiting would not notice much difference. "The town's never been affected by flood to my knowledge - around the town, but not the town," Mr Philp said.

"It's all normal ... (but people would notice) that water is at the top of the bank and spilling over the banks in some places."

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