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  • Rikki Lambert

High river a cause for celebration, not panic in SA Murray

A local MP has hit back at metropolitan media coverage of high river imagery in the South Australian Riverland, saying tourists ought to come see the rare demonstration of river health.

The member for Chaffey taking in river communities of Blanchetown and Swan Reach in the mid-Murray through to Waikerie, Loxton and Renmark in the upper Murray said the River could reach heights unseen in decades due to interstate inflows.

Tim Whetstone urged tourists to visit the region to see the historical event and not be dissuaded by sensationalist reporting from Adelaide:

Recent flooding in Victoria and New South Wales Murray communities has resulted in evacuations in riverside communities such as Echuca and Moama, but in mid-October no warnings had been issued concerning Riverland communities at flood risk.

The South Australian State Emergency Service has indicated shack owners downstream of the Riverland, from Cadell, ought to monitor river levels as there may potentially be inundation of their properties. Shacks downstream of Cadell are presently considered to be in 'minor flood'.

The South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES) is transporting 70,000 empty sandbags and 50 tons of sand to the Riverland on Friday to assist residents to prepare for increased flooding along the River Murray - and delivered 20,000 sandbags to their Blanchetown Unit on Thursday afternoon. Approximately 40,000 sandbags will be delivered to the Loxton Unit on Friday morning and later on Friday 10,000 bags to the Morgan Sporting Complex, including a large delivery of sand.

Chris Beattie, Chief Officer of the SASES said:

“We have been proactive in ensuring a supply of sand and sandbags exist in the Riverland area for people to access
“Additional bags and sand are a next step following the increased forecasts of floodwater crossing the border into South Australia from around 80,000 megalitres a day to 120,000 by early December.
“This will allow people the time to prepare themselves and properties well in advance of the expected increase of floodwaters.’’

On Thursday the Renmark Paringa Council indicated it had concerns about its levee preparedness in the event of a flooding event, their statement reading in part:

Council has undertaken an assessment of its levee system in the past and has highlighted some areas requiring remediation. Council has previously sought external funding from other levels of government to assist in these works and will continue to pursue assistance for the remediation of this infrastructure

Inflows to South Australia are at 79,019 megalitres per day, with SA government data indicating only at 100,000 ML/ day is the whole SA River Murray considered to be in 'minor flood'.


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