South Australia will see a second, higher flood peak from the Murray River, with authorities saying they now expect 185 gigalitres per day to flow through it in the second surge in late December.
Most important points:
- South Africa is expected to have two flood peaks, one in early December and one around Christmas
- The second peak will release between 185 and 220 gigalitres into the Murray River each day
- Those in Greater Adelaide consume 200 gigal liters of water per year
The state government has said two peaks are expected, one in early December and another higher peak in late December around Christmas.
While 185 gigaliter is the high probability, there is a moderate probability of 200 gigaliter and a smaller probability of 220 gigaliter during the second peak.
Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas said during the first peak in early December, a high probability of 175 gigats per day is still expected, with a low probability of 220 gigats per day falling to 200 gigats per day.
“So while there is good news about what we expect in early December, we are certainly alert to what will come across the border in late December,” Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas said.
Residents of Greater Adelaide use about 200 gigal liters of water per year.
“We are now faced with the prospect of crossing the border in the River Murray any day now,” he said.
“It’s a lot of water. It presents a lot of challenges.”
Four kilometers of DefenCell flood barriers have been flown from Italy to Adelaide to be sent to the Riverland, and over a million sandbags have been recovered.
Up to 4,000 homes will be flooded
The reinforcements are part of a $4.8 million protection package announced on Sunday.
However, Mr Malinauksas said that during the peak flows, up to 4,000 homes will still be flooded.
“The combination of many DefenCell products and now over a million sandbags gives us great confidence that where we can make a difference with these materials, we have the ability and capacity to do so,” said Mr. Malinauskas.
“But frankly, we can’t protect every house.
“We can’t let that much water cross the border and protect every property, so we’re still working to get 4,000 properties flooded as a result of these additional flows.”
Earlier this week, the government declared a major state of emergency, giving Police Commissioner Grant Stevens additional powers to manage the flood crisis.
SES chief executive Chris Beattie said residents should take action now and look at interactive maps on the SES website to see if their property would be flooded.
He said those affected needed to know when to leave their properties before it was too late.
“This could be caused by road closures in your area, power cuts, sewage losses or even water spilling over the floor slab, but it is important that you decide early and in advance when you will be leaving,” said Mr Beattie. .
He said a levee being built to protect Renmark Paringa District Hospital has been completed and a number of other levees are currently under construction in the region.
Wastewater from Riverland homes should be cut off
SA Water’s Nicola Murphy told ABC Radio Adelaide that about 150 homes would be disconnected from wastewater services by December 9, with another 100 homes also expected to be shut down.
Last week, SA Power Networks warned that about 2,000 properties will be disconnected from electricity in the coming weeks, with some homes and cabins already disconnected.
Ms Murphy said SA Water was working with affected residents to find suitable alternatives, including the use of portaloos and camp toilets.
“Anything we can do to help those residents we will do, and that’s something we’re working with those people as they make their decisions right now to stay in their homes or maybe move during the flooding period,” she said.
“What we need to think about is the overall ability of our network to handle the extra amount of water that comes into it and our pumping stations can pump that through and we try to make sure we maintain as many services as possible to get the most number of people for as long as possible customers.
“By isolating a small portion of the network, we’re trying to protect the rest of the network and keep those services running.”
Ms Murphy said SA Water was also working to prevent sewage from entering the floodwaters.
Access to health services will be ‘difficult’
Riverland residents and visitors are also urged to plan ahead for their health needs as road closures are imminent.
Michelle Atchison, president of the Australian Medical Association SA, said mosquito-borne viruses were also a concern.
“If you have scripts that you need for the next few months go get them filled out now, if you need a vaccination for your Japanese encephalitis virus then go get it now because in the coming weeks the health services will be stretched as people get them use, but they will also be difficult to access,” she said.
“There are a lot of drugs that we can do through telehealth, but we can’t give you a virus shot through telehealth, so there are some things you need to start planning now.”
She urged people to stock up on insect repellents before supplies ran out.