Full to the brim
Tuesday, 4th January, 2011
The river is so full at Menindee that the wake from boats on the water could overflow or destroy the levees and flood residential properties, according to the State Emergency Service.
Now the inflows from the record-breaking floods in Queensland have prompted the SES to declare a section of the Darling River closed from the pumping station to the north of the town to Weir 32 to the south.
This means no-one will be allowed to boat or swim in that part of the river until January 15, when the SES will review the situation and make an announcement.
No boats, either recreational or commercial, motorised, row boats or sailing craft are allowed, and nobody must enter the water for any reason, the SES said.
The only people allowed on the river will be emergency services personnel who might have to rescue people or enforce the closure.
Graham Craig, the SES Regional Operations Controller for the Far West, said the main reason for closing the river to the public was to cut the risk of avoidable damage to property from waves caused by boats.
“If the wake overtops or crashes water against a levee, it can crack or even fail,” Mr Craig said. The river was at minor flood level at Menindee and this also posed other dangers to people, he said.
“Floods have a bad habit of bringing debris down that sits just below the surface of the river and you can’t see it. That can include snakes.
“Also, in a flood situation, people should remember not to walk, drive or ride through floodwaters.”