As time goes by, we remember the significant events that happen in our life and use those events as markers, such as “After my car accident” or “Before Sam was born” or “Pre-covid, post-covid, and during covid”.
Much like we talk about the “1956 flood” we will also talk about the “2022-23 flood” as a marker in our lives.
It’s quite amazing watching the water level rise, slowly seeing bushes disappear, fences become submerged, roads become inaccessible, and houses and properties filling with water. It’s devastating for those who lose their livelihood, their house, their normality.
This flood wasn’t like the flash floods we’ve recently seen interstate…this one came up slowly, inching it’s was higher and higher, into estuaries, over river banks, and across flood plains. We had an unusual amount of rain in the six months leading up to the flood, so the sub-soil in the Riverland was already well and truly wet before the water came down the river from the upstream regions.
As the water got higher, more and more levee banks were built to keep the water from ruining houses, businesses, and infrastructure. As a consequence more water was pushed downstream creating higher water levels than might have happened if there weren’t any levee banks. Protecting the things that people had worked hard for became a priority, and lots of properties were saved as a result of the levees banks.
The wildlife has flourished. I’ve never seen so many dragon flies in the Riverland. The birds are loving it, the yabbies are loving it, and unfortunately so are the carp (an introduced species of fish that is devastating to our river).
Even though the water has subsided considerably, there is still a lot of water around that has nowhere to go now that the water level has dropped below the river bank. Much of that leftover water will stagnate over the coming months, and it won’t take long for the smell of it to reach across the flood plains.
These two aerial photos were taken only seven and a half weeks apart. The first photo was about a week before the peak, although from the air, it would have looked pretty much the same as this photo.
Click on the photos to see the full view.