What’s happening with the Lower Murray’s levees? Not enough, opposition MPs say
Twelve months after the River Murray floods, Adrian Pederick and Nicola Centofanti want answers about the future of the levee network that protects Murraylands farms.
Twelve months on from the River Murray floods, floodplain farmers are no closer to knowing what will happen to the network of levees that protect their livelihoods.
All but a handful of the 26 levees along the Lower Murray were either breached or overtopped during last summer’s floods, flooding more than 1200 hectares of farmland, despite a hasty effort to reinforce them.
Several failed again in September, during a wind storm.
Irrigators have been calling for a more organised long-term approach for the better part of a year.
That was not good enough, state MP Adrian Pederick said.
“The (state) government were happy to fly in to flood affected areas and take selfies when the river was flooding, but since the water has receded they have been missing in action,” he said.
“The government needs to come up with a clear plan for the levees moving forward, which includes factors like what height the levees should be built to and maintained at, what clay sources are suitable and the funding arrangements.
“Landowners along the 110 kilometres of levees need assurance the government has a plan going forward to better manage flooding events in the future, (and) certainty they will be able to operate their businesses in the years to come.”
Opposition water and River Murray spokeswoman Nicola Centofanti said the state and federal governments had already committed to spending $6 million improving levee bank management on the River Murray and Gawler River last June, as part of a new Disaster Ready Fund.
She struggled to understand why the project had not been a higher priority.
Levee bank improvements will be three-year project
In a statement, Deputy Premier Susan Close said work had begun on a three-year project to improve the management of government and privately owned levees in priority areas.
The government would first collect improved state-wide data; then update regulatory frameworks.
Finally, it would “(develop) a levee bank management and maintenance regime for River Murray levee banks upstream (sic) of Mannum” in consultation with river councils.
“Field inspections of the damaged levees in the Lower Murray Reclaimed Irrigation Area continue with reinforcement of levee stabilisation works, where required, being prioritised,” she said.
“Support for producers affected by the floods remains available.”
More information: www.pir.sa.gov.au.
Stories create community. Help Murray Bridge News tell our community’s stories by subscribing today.