Of droughts and flooding rains…

Today, I can only quote this one poignant line from the Dorothea Mackellar poem My Country.

Our hearts go out to the thousands of families affected by the devastating rains that have lashed South Eastern Queensland and the Northern Rivers area of northern New South Wales.

Days of heavy rains have caused unprecedented flooding across the region. If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll know that this region of Australia feels like a second home to us. We visit every winter and bask in its mild winter climate. Yet many is the time that we look in horror at the height of the region’s flood gauges. Now, in some areas, new and much higher flood levels will be recorded. Flood levels higher than a two-storey house, it’s hard to imagine because those Queenslander-style homes are high. Lives have been lost, homes and businesses ruined and hearts are broken.

12 thoughts on “Of droughts and flooding rains…

  1. Too true. I wonder if anything will be done in the aftermath to improve drainage etc. I have a friend in Yamba who has been battling to have drainage easements cleared by the council but just gets the runaround now her road is flooded but fortunately to date her house isn’t.

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    1. Thanks Derrick. The irony is that when it rains in that region and higher north we get beautiful weather in Melbourne. While watching events unfold further north we were wishing for more than a sprinkle here. The rain system is still hugging the east coast but now it’s Sydney’s turn. So we’re talking of more than 1000kms from north to south.

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  2. I thought this was an interesting comment from Professor Jonathan Nott, a palaeohazards expert at James Cook University in Cairns, “Part of the problem is that we continue to build in the path of floods, regardless of history, and allow populations to increase in low-lying floodplains.”
    We sure saw that in my part of Canada in 2013. (That was the year our cabin community of 300 homes was destroyed.) Our Province responded to that flood by finally designating areas as ‘sacrificial’ when the next flood comes along. People who rebuilt in these flood zones have been warned that they will not get any government support if their place floods again, and they cannot get flood insurance. That’s not to say they can’t live there or work the land – they just have to have an action plan for how they are going to responsibly respond when the next flood comes their way!

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    1. Yes, it seems that it is easier to build housing estates on nice flat land doesn’t it. There are a couple of factors at play, the Northern Rivers region has many large rivers that carry a heck of a lot of water down from the Great Dividing Range. Good farming land that one would assume that in times gone by would rely on the silt from floods but the old towns are getting larger as more people move in for the ideal climate this area provides. Brisbane has now gone under floodwaters twice in 11 years but this is low lying CBD and very old riverside suburbs, if they can get insurance, I doubt they could even afford it. The difficult thing is that inner Brisbane around the river is magical and would be a beautiful place to live, if it weren’t for the floods.

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  3. You are right about the silt replenishing the fertile soils of NE NSW. A friend’s family has farmed around Coraki on the Richmond River for about 150 years. Floods were a normal event there, although perhaps not of this scale, which is being increased by climate change. Maybe we should be looking again at the feasibility of diverting some east coast water inland.

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