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River towns counting the cost of floods

Tuesday, 24th April, 2012

 By Emily Roberts

As floodwaters recede, the Central Darling Shire is hoping to get people on the ground to determine the extent of the damage.

The Shire’s General Manager, Tim Drew, said so far the only thing Council could do was to estimate how much it will cost to repair everything.

“All we’ve got is an estimate of $1.2 million. That was an early estimate,” Mr Drew said. “We will be looking at the flood-affected roads and it will take a long time to come up with the final figure.

“It might be less but chances are it will be more. There is extensive damage throughout the Shire.

“There is some damage in Menindee. It is pretty similar to the last year’s situation. Some people are affected and have been for some months. They have moved out of their houses. It creates issues for them.

“It is a difficult time for some people down in Menindee.”

Graham Craig, the SES Regional Operations Controller for the Far West, said the region was nearing the end of the floods.

“In Menindee the flood peaked at 8.8 metres which was down from the expected 9.5 metres. The floodwaters are taken into the lakes. The lakes are used as a control point,” Mr Craig said.

Mr Drew said floodwaters peaked in Wilcannia a couple weeks ago and there was  no damage to report in the town or from outlying properties.

“We did some work on the levee around St Therese’s School and Wilcannia came through pretty well okay.”

But Mr Drew said Tilpa, which had been isolated from the floodwaters, was still having problems.

“Access into Tilpa is still difficult. We need to follow up on the situation,” he said.

Mr Craig said the water at Wilcannia peaked at 10.65 metres which was well below the expected level.

“The banks did break at Wilcannia but it spilled onto the flood plains, causing the closure of the dirt road infrastructure on both sides of the roads,” he said.

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