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Stations cut off

Tuesday, 18th January, 2011

By Andrew Robertson

Up to 50 station properties on the Darling River between Bourke and Menindee have been isolated by floodwaters, which peaked at Louth yesterday afternoon.

But none of the properties were in danger of being flooded, according to the State Emergency Service (SES), which added that many of the owners had boats or aircraft to get into and out of their places.

"Most have their own private levee so they are not inundated," Deputy Regional Controller (Far West), Marc Coulter, said yesterday.

The first of two major floods is now heading for Wilcannia where it is expected to peak at 10.5 metres on February 8, prompting the Bureau of Meteorology to issue a major flood alert.

A second large flow - the result of flooding at St George in Queensland - is travelling down the system and expected to peak at Wilcannia four or five weeks after the first.

Mr Coulter said the both peaks were similar is size and were not expected to result in any properties in Wilcannia being flooded.

The eastern side of the township was more susceptible to flooding but "at this time there is no threat" to properties, he said.

"Wilcannia is high enough that it doesn't become an issue."

Mr Coulter said the SES, which was in constant contact with the isolated properties, would provide medical and food supplies if required.

Flooding has also closed the river road from Bourke to Wilcannia.

He said in the coming weeks helicopters would be sent to Wilcannia and Menindee to assist properties during what he said would be a prolonged flood event.

"In the next 10 to 14 day period we will forward deploy air assets to Wilcannia and Menindee to assist with air re-supply operations."

At Menindee, State Water has increased flows down the Darling to 26,000 megalitres per day, which will lead to moderate flooding in the Menindee area.

Mr Coulter said this would be monitored by the SES and State Water, which has door knocked properties and held community briefings to keep locals up to date on the situation.

"Some people have relocated to the township or to Broken Hill," he said.

"At the moment there is an excellent community spirit at Menindee; they are really coping well."

Mr Coulter also praised the Central Darling Shire Council for their work.

"They've done an excellent job of looking after their people."

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