THE weekend’s flooding has been the first real test of Bathurst Regional Council’s levees on the Macquarie River. No houses appear to have been inundated with flood water, and now the river is falling again.
It was a very different story more than a decade ago when houses close to the river were awash with flood water.
Council’s floodplain manager Darren Sturgiss said the river peaked at 5.68 metres at 4.50am on Saturday.
He said this was one metre below the 1998 flood peak, so while it was a good test for the levee system, it is not certain houses would have flooded anyway.
He added that a one in 100 year flood would peak at 6.9 metres.
“We are happy, but it wasn’t a full test. We still had another 1.3 metres to go before we hit the level they were designed for,” he said.
“However, without the levees Morrisset Street would have been impassable and people in Stanley and Havannah streets would have had significant water in their yards.”
Mr Sturgiss said there were a few concerns over the weekend for properties at Perthville and Georges Plains but the river started to drop again before it could become a real threat.
He said council’s flood pumps at Hope Street, Peel Street and at the showground were active all Friday night and a fair bit of Saturday.
Another pump in Gilmour Street did not need to be activated.
Mr Sturgiss said there were some levels of ponding inside the levee and council spent yesterday pumping that water out.
He said about 10 roads in the region were closed at the height of the flood activity.
Mr Sturgiss said that while the bureau was unable to predict exactly what will happen next as more rain rolls in, he said council is hopeful the impact on the region will not be too great.
“Saturday night we saw a few stars and we were very grateful for that,” he said.
One of the sour points for the community was the closure of the Great Western Highway on Friday due to the flooding of Raglan Creek – a familiar story for many.
Mr Sturgiss said council started work on the Raglan Creek overflow channel some time ago, however, the Roads and Maritime Services (formerly RTA) took over the project in conjunction with upgrades to the Great Western Highway.
It is still to approve the final design.
Mr Sturgiss said council has been proactive in purchasing the land to allow the channel to be built as a way of trying to hurry the project along.