Flood preparations begin as River Murray levels start to rise
The risk is higher in the Riverland than along the Lower Murray, but Premier Peter Malinauskas says the state government is planning for every possibility.
River Murray communities will be given the “best possible protection” as floodwaters begin to flow over the border from Victoria, South Australia’s premier has promised.
River levels are expected to rise over the next two months on the back of a wet winter and recent heavy rain upstream.
As recently as last Friday, the Department for Environment and Water predicted river flows would peak at 90 gigalitres per day at the border, but Premier Peter Malinauskas warned on Wednesday that they could reach 120GL/day – the highest level since the 1970s.
Anything over 100GL/day would normally be considered a flood in South Australia.
If river flows do reach that point, the State Emergency Service will issue advice for communities between the border and Wellington.
The risk of flooding would be highest in Renmark and other Riverland towns.
But in the worst-case scenario, water could test the levees along the Lower Murray, inundate parts of Sturt Reserve and threaten low-lying properties at Mypolonga, Avoca Dell and Swanport, according to DEW projections.
Mr Malinauskas said authorities were planning for every eventuality.
“We’ve seen the devastating human and economic impacts of floods in the eastern states,” he said.
“The government is acting now to ensure river communities are as well prepared as possible, should challenges arise.”
He urged councils and land owners to check that their levees were up to scratch.
‘There is significant time for people to prepare’
The good news is that water levels are not expected to peak in Murray Bridge until December 5-12.
The river was only three centimetres above its usual level on Wednesday, according to SA Water.
State Emergency Service spokesman Derren Halleday pointed out that South Australian communities had not received the same heavy rainfall as their interstate neighbours, either.
“The increased flow along the River Murray is a slow-moving and natural river event,” he said.
“There is significant time for people to prepare for the increased flows and potential flooding.”
Watch an update from Peter Malinauskas: www.facebook.com/pmalinauskasmp.
More information about flood preparedness: www.ses.sa.gov.au.
More information about River Murray flows: www.waterconnect.sa.gov.au.
More information about areas which may be prone to flooding: www.waterconnect.sa.gov.au.
Get help: Call the State Emergency Service on 132 500 or, in a life-threatening emergency, call 000.
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