Following is a note and link to photographs from a Murrumbidgee farmer with a rice crop that is withstanding the deluge, but she can’t say the same for the orchards and vineyards that many misguided folk in Sydney would prefer to see growing in our land of drought or flooding rains…
Here are some photos showing the extent of the flooding in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
I want everyone to know that this is clearly showing that the flood plains that we live and work on and that we are therefore custodians of, have precious little to do with the Murrumbidgee river.
The river is not flooding here yet, and the majority of what you see here will not flood when the river peaks at Narrandera and Darlington Point in the next few days. The exception will be the Roache’s escape photo because that may not clear before the river rises. It would not normally flood there but it may still remain backed up.
There is extensive damage here and the water will hang around for longer than the river flood waters.
I can already hear the PR babble from the ‘political agenda’ that this is unprecedented and that there is nothing that could be done other than follow their impractical rules.
Let me assure you that is not the case and those who possess generational knowledge knew exactly what was about to happen once those heavy rains started belting down onto the already saturated surrounding hills and ranges.
It has happened before and will no doubt happen again.
That is why it’s so flat here. That is why we have expanded and enhanced our flood plain wetland ecology here by developing the MIA.
That is why our forefathers had the vision to develop this area.
We will also clean up the mess and move on as we always invariably do.
I am very curious to know how the 3 major MDB rivers flooding yet again will impact those ‘end of system flows’.
I am also wondering how the Murray Darling Basin Authority, CEWH, New South Wales Office of Water, Snowy Hhydro Ltd et. al. will attempt to justify storing environmental water and enhancing flooding events under the current conditions.
I’m positive all those Ramsar birds are completely ignorant of the fact that they have apparently been assisted by the Federal government and actually I’m positive they never cared.
At the moment, our area looks like it could be used as a setting for the Hitchcock movie ‘The Birds’. Not one cent of taxpayer money or current water policy had anything at all to do with that.
Our own highly variable and highly unpredictable land ‘of drought and flooding rains’ has just proceeded to solve all the stated problems in the current political ‘water reform’ agenda all by itself.
They do not have a practical plan or a sensible management principle to cater for the blatantly obvious ‘other side of the coin’ let alone the fact that they can’t produce water out of thin air or run the Murray in a severe drought as if it was a pressurised pipe.
There is no joy however in claiming ‘we told you so’
It would be wonderful if our current crop of politicians and bureaucrats would actually recognise that most of what we already know and most of what we already have done recognises the need for flexibility.
Instead we are watching them all scramble to protect their position and protect their inflexible and counter productive rules.
Parochial politics is dismissing what we have all learned. It is also highlighting the mistakes we have not fixed yet instead of allowing us to fix them. I will also add that most of the mistakes, including over allocating unregulated river flows and refusing to upgrade or finish existing infrastructures (including those SA nightmares) were made by poor government policy, not by the people who live and work there.
The majority of the rice crops are fine. Ours look magnificent and they’re hosting a cacophony of native wetland species. Strangely, as we all knew, they all came back when the drought broke. Even the supposedly extinct ‘brown bitterns ‘ and numerous other supposedly endangered species of frogs, birds etcetera.
The same cannot be said for those ‘high value’ permanent plantings that the Wentworth Group et al have loudly claimed (until very recently) were much more efficient and cost effective crops to produce. Those crops are in severe trouble and some have been irreparably damaged.
As I said, there is no joy in trying to be smug. There is a part of me however that wants to dump those ‘concerned scientists’ right in the middle of Yenda.
There are a lot of people here who will need help and support. More still will be flooded out by our river in the next few days.
I sincerely hope the current political agenda does not further damage their fragile self esteem as it has done by misrepresenting them as ‘environmental vandals’.
Any who read this and are struggling with the flooding, I am thinking of you and hoping that you and your hard won assets manage to get through and survive so that you can continue to be the productive custodians of our beautiful but harsh land that you always have been.
Murrami, Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area
IMO The photos can be highly recommended as a local record from this weather event’s impacts.
I fear though the swim season will be extended
John Sayers says
Yes Debbie – I must say I have been amazed at the PR Babble about the Wagga Wagga flooding – it appears it is no different to the 1990 flood I experienced when I lived there at the time yet they’ve been calling it a one in 100 year event, unprecedented etc.
I notice the SES are becoming more intense as they were evacuating people from their homes behind the levee banks. North Wagga Wagga always goes under, I have the pics to show it. The locals expect it and it used to cut the university off from town but the new bridge has solved that.
As a friend remarked to me once as we looked out to a red sky at sunset “Wow you can see the Wagga sunsets from here!”
Incredible photos Debbie and a very good summary of your present situation. Like you I feel for the poor farmers and others who will suffer because of the severe flooding.
Indeed a land of drought and flooding rains that won’t be fixed by wasting billions on Gillard’s stupid co2 tax.
Debbie; after cruising the MI site and reading the emergency notices; I have to say you aint seen nothing yet!
Guys; my flood pics were angry by comparison.
el gordo says
This is a breath of fresh air.
el gordo says
Read the comments too, Stewart Franks defends himself and swipes the Warminsta.
What haven’t we seen yet?
The water has started to subside here but those near the river are in for a bad time.
Is that what you’re referring to?
Not the same thing Gavin.
Also Gavin, we have seen floods of this magnitude before.
Just because the reports and PR babble are written by people who haven’t seen this before doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before.
As usual, you seem more interested in perpetuating myths rather than listening to people on the ground.
The pictures quite clearly show the natural water courses and the natural geography of this area.
It has precious little to do with the river Gavin
The river doesn’t flood us here.
It only partly acts as a drain when we do flood.
The main drain is that Roache’s escape photo. It also does not affect what happens to the main rice growing areas.
Your comments at the previous post re the Murrumbidgee rice farmers demonstrated supreme ignorance on your part.
Some compassion for the people with permanent plantings would also not go astray.
spangled drongo says
Debbie, marvelous photos. Makes you realise how essential all this wonderful rain is. The media seemed very disappointed this am that the Murrumbidgee peaked below expected at Wagga and the levies held up. Good to see some of the wealth going back to where it belongs.
Takes me back to the days when I used to thrash my Ferrari across the Hay Plain at 240 kph. The coppers couldn’t catch me [and when they did they didn’t charge much in them days].
What great pics of fabulous, productive country. MIA people are so gutsy. I love ’em.
Likewise Debbie, I do share some empathy for the flood affected people. However, people did and do chose to settle and farm in a flood plain so this has to be expected and planned for. Ignorance is no excuse for poor planning. As a property owner, it’s not all bad news as the floods greatly benefit production through the redistribution and often replenishment of ‘energy’.
So we have several good years of rain and the sentiment becomes there is no need to plan for the future when the drought returns, which it will inevitably do? The difference now and into the future compared to the ‘good-old-days’ is that the demand on the water resource is so much greater and increasingly so. So isn’t it reasonable to ensure an equitable sharing of the resource through planning for the worst case scenario?
‘I’m positive all those Ramsar birds are completely ignorant of the fact that they have apparently been assisted by the Federal government and actually I’m positive they never cared.’ Well this is bleeding obvious – ‘we’ are the only species that is acutely aware of our existence as a species and therefore our ongoing survival.
It’s very easy to pick on governments when you are not directly benefiting from the support they provide (which in reality is never the case). Yes, government did commission the construction of the majority of the weirs and locks in place on the southern connected system. However, why was this done? To provide an all-year, all-season navigable passage for the movement of primary produced goods from farms to market. I am sure farmers back then were very appreciative of government!
Some things to reflect upon.
Dave Shorter says
Great photos Deb.
Two things should be blindingly obvious.We need more storage and water buy backs should cease immediately !
And as for those shameless self serving acclaim and influence seekers from the Wentworth Group of confirmed misanthropists…..Fancy demanding 4000 gigalitres a year be taken out of production when there are a billion malnourished humans.Marie-Antoinette had more compassion than they do!
Thank you for recognising that some empathy is required.
However, the rest of your post is a classic example of missing the point in a blatant attempt to defend a political agenda and a completely inappropriate political timeline.
I respectfully suggest you read my post and look at those photos again.
If we were actually witnessing an attempt to equitably share resources with a mind to preparing for worst case scenarios, I would be a happy camper.
That is not what is happening.
The weirs and locks were not what I was referring to.
If you want to quote history, how about you look up the history of the MIA and desist from pretending it has anything to do with weirs in the Murray, the yet to peak flood in our river or the equitable sharing of resources?
Interesting discussion on RN about the way forward with levies etc.
The guy from CSIRO mentioned the Goulburn Broken CMA approach to non indigenous vegetation and the fact that authorities in places like China are opening the flood plains again by realigning barriers round cities to let flood peaks go.
Btw that word “unprecedented” has been heard again
“Btw that word “unprecedented” has been heard again”
Thanks for the warning. I’ll avoid sources of such irresponsible and unscientific slop.
Thanks for the fascinating photos,Debbie. If I understand the topography correctly,this floodwater has moved south and west from the hills,as well accumulated in situ,from the intense falls of the 4th,but little of it would naturally [pre MIA] move cross country into the Murrumbidgee as Mirrool Creek and the network of channels around it will slowly direct it to the Barren Box swamp area? Will it then move west from there?
The 24 hours to 9am on the 4th at Yanco [station opened 1957] saw 175mm recorded. This is an incredible amount,easily the wettest day for any month by an enormous margin. More rain fell on that one day than fell over the previous record March !
Records from Grong Grong go back to 1898,and the 194mm recorded on the 4th and the 110mm on 29/2 are new daily rainfall records for the respective months by huge margins,and are well higher than the wettest 24 hour falls for any other month.
I notice that Griffith Airport picked up 150mm on 20 March 1985. And one station at Darlington Point an incredible 212mm on 1/1/1984,but these seem to have been localised thunderstorm falls. Looking around the long record stations in the MIA,I reckon this was the heaviest and most widespread soaking on record for the area.
It’s interesting, but only interesting, that here on the flood-prone midcoast of NSW, all of our highest rainfall months occurred before 1980. Three were in the 1890s. Our biggest flood cluster (3 consecutive years) was in the 1890s, but the 1949-1950 pair was more severe. (1949 was truly catastrophic.) All up, our wettest year was 1963
Of course, I deduce nothing from this. I imply nothing by this.
And, would you believe, the figures for lowest monthly rainfall are even further back in the past? Our driest May was in 1957, and that’s the most recent “record” dry based on monthly figures. We managed a whole June without a drop of rain…in 1883! Our driest year was 1902.
From this, I deduce nothing, and I imply nothing.
1950 was, by most reports, the biggest soaking NSW ever copped…but 2012 is still young. Whether 1950 or 2012 turns out to be the wetter, it will, of course, signify nothing. There will be nothing to deduce or imply.
Anyway, tonight is the coldest early March evening I can remember. I deduce nothing from that…except the need to pull out the doona.
And I hope all my fellow rural Australians find a roof and some warmth tonight.
These images are interesting,too.And even more interesting if you download the full image for 5/3/12.
The Lachlan ‘delta’ is already filled by local rainfall with the river yet to arrive,Lake Cowal is insane,and Binya and Mirool Creeks are lakes. Sheets of water everywhere.
Bureaucrats protect their turf above all. Actually doing their job, and actually being acountable and ethical come in much lower on the list of priorities.
It appears your local bureaucrats are busy fibbing and rewriting history:
It is no longer surprising to see AGW fear mongers lie and cheat, but it is still disappointing.
George B says
I thought some folks here might be interested in this article at Mr. Watts’ blog:
From Px link above
“The transformation of the landscape between mid-February and early March is dramatic”
Well worth a gander
Ian Thomson says
Mirrool Creek wanders off from Barren Box out South of Booligal on the One Tree Plain.
Debbie may remember, but I think it was in the late 1980s , when Barren Box had to be released- (as it was backing up with floodwater ) – Resulting in a sea of water out near Booligal.
I guess this will happen now.
Between that scenario and the Bidgee flood, there are going to be some serious ongoing road closures.
I might have to buy an amphibian car.
Deb, I noted with satisfaction that after days of reporting from the ” towns ” of Wagga and Griffith in our media that good old Triple J gave Griffith CITY status this morning at last .
Gee, we might even get significant out here yet.
Yes I do remember and much the same will occur again.
This event is clearly showing that much that has recently been said about our area is pure bunk.
Even though we live on a flood plain and even though we live near the ‘bidgee, we do not get flooded by the river here.
That is one of the reasons why our forefathers developed this area.
Yes Poly and Gav it is a spectacular and rare event but it is quite easy to see that it has obviously happened before.
The Mirool and Little Mirool creeks are the major known contributors to our flood plains here but there are several other water courses which are not named that contribute as well.
I have seen them flood before as well.
Those ‘old timers’ which the current crop of politicians continually dismiss can also tell stories and show records of the type of floods we have here on rare (very rare) occaisions.
As Ian has also highlighted, much of this water does not head to the river, the main exception being the flooding near Yanco, which is also not connected to the Mirool creeks.
Much of this water will hang around and create spectacular ephemeral explosions of wildlife a long time after the ‘bidgee flood has subsided.
Except for significant damage to assets and crops this event will largely have positive repercussions for the land and environment here. Especially the original developed areas.
As I also mentioned earlier, the majority of the rice crops have survived unscathed.
We have a mess to clean up and we will almost certainly have a wet and puddly harvest, but rural people are tough and will focus on working through.
My fear is that the current political agenda will further damage the self esteem of these resilient people.
They have been used as ‘cannon fodder’ in a stupid, impractical, parochial, political ideological war.
I notice that the PR spin is already rolling out of Burke’s mouth and he is determined to forge ahead with his agenda even though current circumstances are proving beyond doubt that they do not have all the answers.
They are still planning to store environmental water in what are clearly human assets even when
a) The environment clearly doesn’t need it and,
b) With no proper management plan or principle and,
c) Using assets which were not designed to deliver their naive goals and are therefore incapable of doing so.
It is blatantly obvious that our natural ephemeral environment is completely capable of coping with our boom and bust environment.
Our major problem is we ran dangerously short of storage during the recent (but definitely over) drought.
There is only one way to fix that problem.
Storing environmental water and redefining what are clearly human assets is not the way to fix it!
It is also bordering on irresponsible to put water on the back of flooding MDB rivers.
I hope you took the time to reread my post.
I was commenting on the CURRENT crop of bureaucrats and politicians, not earlier ones.
We have all moved on and it’s about time they did too.
They are not helping us to improve or to fix past mistakes, they are in fact hindering!
Ian T: ABC radio 666 had lots on Griffith and other Bidgee locs in the past few days.
Deb: I can’t help thinking you expect tears on behalf of…
I know a guy here who has hardly worked in weeks because he is an old fashioned brickie
I am neither expecting tears nor wanting to be smug (as you are being).
And Gav, GRIFFITH IS NOT BEING AFFECTED BY THE BIDGEE FLOOD!!!!
Darlington Point most certainly is.
These great people out here are resilient and will pull through as they always do.
They will also continue to pay their bills and their dues as they always do.
They are great custodians of our beautiful but highly unpredictable land.
They are not silly enough to pretend they have all the answers or that they don’t make mistakes sometimes.
They accept responsibility for their mistakes and are always willing to clean up the mess.
They also LEARN from their mistakes.
Despite your inferences otherwise, we are a nett positive contributor to Australia’s GDP and therefore are not a drain or burden on the rest of the nation.
In actual fact Gavin, we are a PRODUCTIVE CONTRIBUTOR to the nation. We produce and give far more than we’re ever ever likely to consume.
I am spectacularly unimpressed by your attitude.
I am quite clearly asking that people open their eyes and look at what is REALLY happening and stop pretending that our current political agenda is going to solve either side of our boom and bust environment…and is in fact placing unnecessary burdens onto people who do not deserve it.
We still have politicians and media (and apparently you Gavin) spruiking that our floods here are caused by the Murrumbidgee.
If you even remotely understood the MIA and the history of its development or the key influences of the majority of its floodplains you would realise that this area has always progressed and always met the practical implementation of changing community expectations. It has always also been a safe haven for a plethora of native flora and fauna.
It is a productive, progressive, sustainable and vibrant area and has even managed to survive a millenium drought (albiet rather bruised and battered).
Right now, even in this latest event, we are all proving that the Govt support we received during the drought was an outstanding investment. The Return on Investment (ROI) will be positive.
Repeating political PR spin and being smug have no productive results Gavin.
But if it makes you feel somehow superior and important….just jeep it up.
It is at least making me laugh.
For Poly’s edification, this area is actually historically part of the lower LACHLAN catchment if it ever does have an exceptional and rare flood….that’s where this water is slowly heading…with the Yanco area being the exception as it will mostly drain into the ‘bidgee. Yanco however was not flooded by the ‘bidgee.
spangled drongo says
Of course, this was never suppoed to have happened again. Luke’s STR had driven all this rain south of the continent and DROUGHTS were now the order of the day.
Why don’t they just admit that because of a bad combination of models and mindset they made a stupid mistake.
Big drought means big wet:
Check out my link to the positions of the envirocrats in their own words. They are now trying to play memory hole with their past. This should be a really big scandal- these people have misallocated vast amounts of public resources on their folly.
spangled drongo says
Yes Hunter, and when these alarmists now admit, in order to alibi themselves, they confused climate variability with climate change and expect us to believe it, the obvious reply is, “does that go for AGW as well?”
George B says
I would go even farther and say that the booms and busts are absolutely vital in maintaining the adaptations of the species. If the cycles are moderated to some “average” level, it may cause irreversible changes in species adaptation in only a few generations. Species can adapt very quickly to changing conditions. The species are currently adapted to severe multiyear drought conditions. If you remove severe drought and flood conditions, you end up with an explosion of population and you loose the selection of the most drought tolerant genetic strains. Then when you do have a severe drought that even a mitigation plan can not withstand, the die-off is even worse than it might otherwise be. In fact, it could be catastrophic. You can very well “help” a species to death.
Mark A says
“You can very well “help” a species to death.”
You know that, we know that and I’m sure the real scientists know that.
But if it doesn’t fit the agenda it won’t be supported.
Same as with the river Murray and others, they want “environmental” flows, OK then let them go dry in drought and burst the banks in a flood and repeat.
Guys; as far as the environment is concerned we only need to regulate one species, via boom and bust too if you like.
So; what are you taking with you on the way out?
you truly have no idea do you?
Your mates are pretending to regulate the wrong species.
Dave Shorter says
Careful Gavin,your misanthropy and schadenfreude are showing.
On this website, during the floods of the the last week, some commenters – crudely, or subtly – were working to establish a case for current-climate exceptionalism. Climate disruption is the new CAGW. Wet is the new hot. If necessary, cold is the new hot.
Surely we have to ask: is Environmentalism a form of puritan self-loathing, unrelated to the environment and to Conservation? I’m not one to call my opponents stupid, and I don’t think the promoters of Environmentalism are stupid. But there is something very wrong with this need to isolate the present from the past while claiming all kinds of foreknowledge, based, of course, on “science”.
Are we to be made New Men at Year Zero? Is that what the Puritans want, consciously or unconsciously?
Looking out my kitchen window this morning….accross the subsiding waters…amidst all the bird life…
I can see pelicans and a sea eagle (of all things).
I wonder how the ‘puritan science’ is going to explain that?
BTW…we often saw pelicans here before the drought but the sea eagle is a little bit special for me.
The ‘natives’ such as the spoonbills, ibis,ducks, swans, waders, bitterns, magpies, parrots etc are having the time of their life and almost outdoing the noisy racket from the frogs (which are deafening at night).
The explosion of ephemeral wetland life here is a sight to behold.
And we must not forgot….not one cent of taxpayer money or federal policy had a single thing to do with it.
There is also no shortage of snakes (unfortunately) and I guess they are having the time of their life feeding on the frogs and frog spawn. (Not going to inspect the veracity of that comment too closely as I have a very healthy respect for a snake’s privacy)
I notice here that areas around Sydney are in for some similar trouble.
I am thinking of you too.
(although there is still that tiny litle part of me that is hoping that a certain ‘concerned scientist’ who has single handedly done much to damage the reputation of decent, practical, productive people, is going to get very, very wet feet on that Hawkesbury River) 🙂
It’s only a tiny little part.
As for those in my area, I sincerely hope that all people who get affected by the flooding manage to pull through with most of their hard won assets intact…including him 🙂
Ian Thomson says
I wasn’t talking of lack of national media cover.
Just the kind of cover.
As far as I know Wagga Wagga is still one of the biggest inland cities in Australia and Griffith is a vibrant, growing, ( If Canberra will leave it alone), Walter Burley-Griffin designed city.
It is a little symptomatic of the whole political process to hear them continually described as ‘towns’ and even, in Griffith’s case, as a ‘township’, by City media.
Sort of symptomatic of a death by a thousand little cuts and omissions.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Johnathan Wilkes says
“So; what are you taking with you on the way out?”
Never you mind as long as you show the way!
el gordo says
“So; what are you taking with you on the way out?”
Much amusement from Gavin…. gum boots for at least a decade
JW; back from a funeral where I asked our grieving host after his duties were mostly over “Have you got it yet?”
A “er no, what?”
“Only the good can go early” I said referring to late wives, they both went after loosing to C in one form or another.
A2 “I’m going to be here for a long time then”
Self preservation is essential one way or another in difficult times but by what I’m hearing on the ABC again, it’s the reaching out that matters ie linkage.
A lass fresh from Sydney had pics on her phone of a torrent cascading down well known steps in Bondi yesterday. This wet overall has been a bumper and I’m very glad Deb hasn’t needed gumboots.
John Sayers says
These people don’t give up do they?
Of course we need to upgrade and improve our water management systems.
We also need to access MORE storage.
Bet he’s not interested in that!
This bloke is making it sound as if the need to upgrade water management is a sudden revelation.
Has he suddenly forgotten that his ilk did not believe we would need to do stuff like that?
First they loudly tell us that we’re doomed because water resources are running out and NOW the mantra is that it’s flooding and we need to upgrade?
I wonder what his position is on those SA Barrages?
Deb, ever since the SMH published Marian Wilkinson’s front-page evacuation plan for coastal NSW, other Fairfax environment writers have been trying to match her for preachy stupidity.
The SMH does provide an ideal young-talent catchment from which the ABC can select its future idiots.
Good one Robert!
I’m struggling to not comment on how disconnected and monumentally stupid this particular piece of preaching is.
Where on earth has this man been hiding with his ears entierely blocked?
Haven’t any of these people been listening at all?
Aparrently not as it has taken catastrophic flooding to FINALLY have them commenting that we we might need to consider improving and upgrading our antiquated water management systems and maybe think about streamlining our water bureaucracies.
What a genius!
Of course NO ONE has thought of that before!
“Faulty weirs blamed for severe floods ”
Deb, just think about that headline. Then think how the article slyly connects the estimated total cost of the flood with the “faulty weirs”. (I wonder how many weirs will be removed, how many upgraded, and how many built. My bet is on “removed”.)
Sadly, it’s the people who fancy themselves as educated who gobble up this Fairfax/ABC slop with a spoon.