Country News

Water floods NSW farm and forest

By Olivia Duffey

Water is breaking banks and flooding the property owned by Lee and Mal Hannan.

Meanwhile in other paddocks their crops are struggling due to a lack of water.

An exasperated Mrs Hannan said ‘‘enough is enough’’ and took aim at the management of water by governments and authorities.

Kinloch, 40km west of Deniliquin, has frontage to the Edward River, Colligen Creek and Tumudgery Creek.

With the systems running high sending water downstream, it is inundating their property and the Werai Forest.

‘‘My husband was down at the Tumudgery Weir, which is on our property, moving stock early last week and he saw that the Tumudgery is running full and actually running over the top of the weir,’’ Mrs Hannan said.

‘‘There are only two or three properties that use water out of the Tumudgery, so it is usually just a small running creek.

‘‘But with all the water being pushed through it, it’s flooding the Werai Forest because the water has nowhere else to go.

‘‘It is not usually covered in water, especially in a drought, so it is most likely going to kill trees that are not used to having this amount of water put on them.

‘‘The water has also branched out to places where it would not usually be unless we were in a flood or a high river situation.’’

Mrs Hannan said the weir had also been damaged since it had ‘‘blown out a big hole’’ at the beginning of the year. So far unrepaired, she said the damage continued to worsen.

‘‘The hole just gets bigger as they push more water down, and most of that water is basically just going into the Werai Forest because there is nowhere else for it to go,’’ she said.

‘‘State Water contacted us in summer saying they know the weir has blown out and that they would be out in winter to fix it, but we believe they never came out.

‘‘They came out about February and put up a barrier which was just a piece of orange tape.

‘‘Because the weir has blown out, water is going through our property and has created quite a dangerous area. So we have lost a whole paddock to this.

‘‘A sheep is not going to walk up to a bit of orange tape and think ‘I shouldn’t go in there’, so we can’t use that whole area for stock.’’

Mrs Hannan said seeing so much water go to waste when so many farmers could not get irrigation water to meet food and fibre demand was upsetting.

‘‘Our concerns are that the water is not going where it should go — to the farmers to grow crops,’’ she said.

‘‘It is just being wasted and that makes me very angry.

‘‘Our crops are struggling. We still have a barley crop but it is just hanging in there, trying to produce heads. And a lot of people are in the same boat or worse than us.

‘‘Governments need to change their theory on the whole thing (water management policy) and allow farmers to irrigate and stop wasting the water.

‘‘And they need to stop pushing water through this area because it is now dangerous, wasteful and could be killing the forest.’’