Donald has experienced a few floods in its lifetime; however, usually there is at least some warning from the encroaching Richardson River.
The flood occurring on Thursday morning, June 22, was not due to the river, though. The cause of this flood, and subsequent main highway shutdown in Woods Street, was due to a burst water pipe.
The only warning to the impending situation came from the bubbling of the road as cars drove over it. The first truck that attempted the unknowingly tenuous crossing burst that bubble; the road broke, it was made unsafe, and reinforcements were called in for repairs.
“We were alerted to a 25ml copper water service leak Thursday morning,” said one of the workers, Andrew Bayles.
“Unfortunately, because of the rain, all we could do then was dig up the feral (the main tap) and turn it off to stop the leak. We couldn’t do any repairs.”
(Andrew would also like to note that the hours-long power outage on that same day was merely a coincidence, and was not their fault.)
Because the water had most likely been leaking for three or four days before it reached its crisis point, the majority of the roadworks on Friday, June 23, were in an effort to remove all the unstable, waterlogged ground underneath the main street.
Once all the mud had been excavated, loose stones were able to be brought in to compact and stabilise the highway once more.
Andrew and the rest of the crew will return in a month or so with a boring machine in order to bore a new water service in the same spot – but they won’t need to dig up the road again for that.
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This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 27 June 2023.