Flood Event September / October 2016
Above average rainfalls across North East Victoria in recent months, particularly in the upper catchments culminated in a series of flood events in local rivers and streams through September and early October.
The Broken Boosey creek system, which reached minor flood levels on three occasions over this period affected predominantly rural land and local roads from Tungamah, through Katamatite, Numurkah, Nathalia and across to Barmah.
More recently, significant releases from Hume Dam and high flows down the Ovens River contributed to major flood levels being reached along the Murray River at Bundalong, Yarrawonga (downstream), Tocumwal and Barmah.
This incident was managed by Vic SES with support from a range of agencies including Moira Shire along with a number of local volunteer groups. A number of community sandbagging staging areas were established which contributed significantly to levee protection from Koonoomoo to Barmah.
At this time, all stream levels described above have now fallen below minor flood levels. These levels continue to be monitored by the Bureau of Meteorology with a chance of continued above average rainfall through until Christmas.
The impact of this event at this time has been limited in the short term to agricultural land immediately adjacent to these waterways.
In excess of 100 properties have experienced short term isolation caused by residual flood water remaining on ground and across local access tracks. There have also been initial reports of isolated pasture and crop loss and a number of local roads have sustained damage. In addition, a number of the properties are holiday homes which ironically, normally enjoy the benefits of their proximity to our natural waterways.
The impact of this event is likely to be felt for some time to come as the closure of Parks along the Murray River limits access to tourists.
Council has commenced its recovery from this flood event. Whilst not as large as 2012, our efforts remain focused on supporting those who have been impacted. If you or someone you know has been impacted, let us know by calling Council on (03) 5871 9222 or by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
While flood waters have receded, there are a number of important warnings and advice that remain in place.
Parks Victoria have reported a significant number of large trees have fallen into the Murray River and throughout its parks. Please take note of the following warning advice from Parks Victoria;
- Trees that are standing in saturated ground may fall at any time
- Windy conditions can also contribute to the risk of trees falling
- You are advised not to remain under trees for an extended time
- Avoid camping directly underneath trees
Boating Safety Messages
Bundalong Boat Ramps
üBoth the Paisley Street and Pyke Street boat ramps are OPEN following inspection by Goulburn Murray Water.
Lake Mulwala Boat Ramps
All boat ramps on the main lake body of Lake Mulwala remain OPEN.
Cobram Boat Ramp
The boat ramp at Thompsons Beach, Kennedy Park is CLOSED and is expected to remain closed for some weeks.
Earthen Boat Ramps
Whilst the parks remain closed along sections of the Murray River from Yarrawonga to Barmah, boat ramp access is obviously restricted. Once reopened, these ramps should be used with appropriate caution. In particular, be mindful of trees, boggy approaches, submerged obstacles and other hazards.
General River Conditions – on and off water
Boating can be dangerous following a flood event. There can be debris, submerged trees and other dangers in the water. Please be aware of these dangers and take care.
Speed limits on water will be strictly enforced as sections of the river reopens. This is to protect all users of the water. Other key warnings include;
- If you are camping, fishing or undertaking any activity on or near floodwater, monitor water levels and conditions regularly as river and access track conditions can change quickly and without warning. This includes the risk of trees falling across tracks and into the water.
- When boating on the Murray remember to watch out for trees above and below the waterline
Be safe on our roads
Flood water over roads is well understood as a hazard and the warning remains in place to not enter flood water.
What’s less understood is that roads that have been affected by flood water can deteriorate quickly and so please, be aware that traffic conditions can change quickly.
If you notice dangerous road conditions please contact Council on (03) 5871 9222 or ring VicRoads on 13 11 70.
All road closures are listed and maintained on the VicRoads website - www.vicroads.gov.au
Mosquito and Insect Hazards
There are a lot of mosquitoes about, that is obvious. They breed well in stagnant waters and so the best advice is to drain any water from containers such as pot plants, tyres, buckets, and roof gutters (if blocked by leaf debris) to control mosquitos around your home / business.
It is also important to protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long, loose fitting clothing and by regularly applying repellent (containing Picaridin or DEET) to all exposed skin.
Keep mosquitoes out of your home by closing doors and windows, and repairing or sealing damaged fly screens.
Useful tips on how to avoid being bitten by mosquitos can be found on the better heath channel: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/mosquitoes-can-carry-diseases
Many animals, great and small have been moved from their homes by flood water and like us, they can be a bit grumpy and disorientated. As they try and get home, you can assist by looking out for our furry and not so furry friends.
Kangaroos, koala’s, turtles and wombats are all relocating back to parks and forests and many need to cross roads. Please take care and give them some time if necessary.
Be aware of snakes that have been sheltering in unexpected places including sheds and homes. They’re grumpy too and not to be messed with. If you accidently do get bitten by a snake get immediate medical attention by calling triple zero (000).
Do not approach wild or stray animals. For advice about dealing with animals contact Council or an animal shelter, as listed below.
For urgent animal welfare issues, contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or your local veterinarian.
Local Wildlife Rescue Shelters:
- Bohollow Wildlife Shelter for rescues from Katunga to Barmah
Deb - 0418 328 671
Kirsty - 0447 636 953
- Koonawonga Wildlife Rescue for rescues from Strathmerton to Bundalong
Kylee - 0417 560 910
Loretta - 0417 288 944
National Park Closures
Parks and public land closures are in place for most impacted areas, these include:
Murray River: Reserves and parks from Yarrawonga to Barmah, includes Barmah National Park, Yarrawonga, Cobram and Tocumwal Regional Parks
Goulburn River: Closures are in place for Shepparton Regional Park and Lower Goulburn National Park
Ovens River: Warby Ovens National Park closed from Wangaratta to Bundalong
For the latest list of Park closures call 13 19 63 or go to www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/safety/flood-affected-parks
The flood event has affected access to the river and this will remain for coming weeks and in some cases months.
That said, there are plenty of other activities that will attract tourists to our region. From the award winning ‘Farm gate trail’ to a fantastic array of events on across the region from now through to Christmas there’s something for everyone.
Visit the Sun Country on the Murray website links below for further information:
There are no current warnings in place in relation to drinking water across the area impacted by flood water.
Goulburn Valley Water and North East Water operations staff are continually monitoring systems to ensure drinking water supplies remain safe and sewerage assets remain functional.
For the latest info or report a fault call;
Goulburn Valley Water 1800 454 500 or go to: www.gvwater.vic.gov.au
North East Water 1300 361 633 or email: email@example.com
Health and Wellbeing
The effects of a flood event on our wellbeing can vary, regardless of the immediate impact of flood waters in and around our homes.
Mental Health and general counselling services are provided at each of the following local health services;
- Numurkah District Health – (03) 5862 0560
- Yarrawonga Health Service – (03) 5743 8500
- Cobram District Hospital - (03) 5871 0900
- Nathalia District Hospital – 0408 662 868
Other services are available by contacting;
- Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232 or visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au
- Weather Warnings and River Heights on 1300 659 217 or visit www.bom.gov.au
- Moira Shire Council phone: (03) 5871 9222