Monday, November 28, 2022

State government secures flood defence resources for River Murray communities: Malinauskas, Szakacs

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The Hon. Peter Malinauskas, Premier of South Australia, The Hon. Joe Szakacs, Minister for Emergency Services (SA), Joint Media Release, 20 November 2022

1.5 million sandbags and almost 8 km of flood barriers have been secured by the South Australia Government to help protect flood affected River Murray communities.

Three kilometres of DefenCell barriers from India arrived in Adelaide on Saturday 19 November with a further four kilometres of product expected to arrive on 28 November from Italy. A resupply of 200,000 sandbags will fly into Adelaide on 24 November.

Further deliveries of 25,000 will also be received that day with an additional 168,000 to be delivered by 30 November via road freight.

Ahead of the delivery of the additional sandbags, State Cabinet will travel to the Riverland on Tuesday to hold meetings with all affected River Murray councils regarding flood plans and risk mitigation strategies.

The state government has committed $4.8 million for flood defence resources. This is over the $3 million already committed for levee bank restoration works.

The DefenCell barriers will be deployed to keep safe essential infrastructure and high value assets which are not currently protected by levees.

The extra sandbags will add to an existing 300,000 already deployed and in active service throughout multiple council areas along the river.

The announcement comes amid an escalation of resources to mitigate flood damage, with current forecasts showing peak flows of at least 175 gigalitres a day by next month.

The increase in flow forecast from 165 gigalitres a day to 175 gigalitres a day, comes as a result of heavy rains throughout the Murray Darling Basin catchment over the past weeks.

There remains a moderate chance that flows might reach 200 gigalitres per day and a less likely chance of it reaching 220 GL/day.

River communities should consider these updated figures as part of their flood emergency preparedness. This includes factoring in potential road and ferry closures, disruptions to the power network and reduced services.

Led by the South Australian State Emergency Service, state government agencies are working alongside councils, contractors, landholders and businesses to prepare the community for the high river levels which are expected to endure until February.

Community meetings continue to be held at towns along the river in including at Murray Bridge and Waikerie, with upcoming meetings being held in Norwood for Adelaide based shack owners as well as in Meningie and Goolwa this week.

In addition, community sandbag depots are open seven days a week from 9am to 3pm in Murray Bridge, Blanchetown, Mannum, Bowhill, and Glossop. Address details are available from the SES website.

The SES encourages people to check their flood risk by accessing a newly developed interactive flood mapping tool which allows property owners to enter their address and visualise flood inundation models at various flow rates for their property. Access the tool here.

The SES also is urging people to become familiar with best practise sandbag usage with guides here.

Click here for information on the status of ferries along the River Murray.

People wanting more information on the River Murray flood event can call the SA SES flood and storm information line on 1800 362 361 anytime.

Blackwater events in South Australia are still a likelihood and any fish kills observed in the wild should be reported to the FISHWATCH 24-hour hotline on 1800 065 522.

Now the flow is peaking at the critical gauge at Wakool Junction, forecasting of the peak flow will become more accurate. High flow maps, updated FAQs and new estimated arrival charts are available on the DEW website here.
 
Quotes attributable to Peter Malinauskas

We are doing our utmost to ensure that every resource possible is available to River Murray communities to prepare for the flooding as swiftly as possible.

These additional sandbags will help, but it must be acknowledged that sandbags will not be able to protect every property.

With only two weeks until projected peak flows, the state government is acting as quickly and proactively as possible to minimise risk to lives, businesses and homes.

I thank all state government agencies who are working around the clock to prepare for significant water flows.

Quotes attributable to Joe Szakacs

For many people, this will be the biggest and most severe weather event you will have ever seen, and our government is preparing to help as best as we can.

It’s no secret this event brings about anxiety. We are committing a significant amount of money and resources to do all we can to assist.

It’s important that people remain vigilant and continue to prepare, particularly those with low lying shacks.

I urge people to visit the SES website for up to date information and to take extra care when moving about the district over coming months.

Quotes attributable to SASES Chief Officer, Chris Beattie

All members of the River Murray community are encouraged to check their flood risk by using SES’ new flood mapping tool found on the SES website.

DefenCell flood barrier technology is a game changer for SES’ flood response and will assist the protection of property and essential infrastructure in River Murray communities.

With the increased flows forecast in the coming weeks, deploying the DefenCell barriers to protect from floodwaters will be a key mitigation tool.

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