Monitoring, not mapping, needed for Molesworth, say farmers

Monitor Molesworth rivers, creeks, say farmers


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Farmers say monitoring of Goulburn River, local creeks is required at Molesworth

Farmers in the Molesworth area, on the Goulburn River, say they’re frustrated by plans to set up a flood warning system for the area.

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FARMER FRUSTRATION: Les Ridd, Molesworth beef producer, said it appeared the Goulburn Broken Catchment Managment Authority (GBCMA) was reinventing the wheel, in doing a flood mapping study.

FARMER FRUSTRATION: Les Ridd, Molesworth beef producer, said it appeared the Goulburn Broken Catchment Managment Authority (GBCMA) was reinventing the wheel, in doing a flood mapping study.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA) has held five public meetings in the region, including at Molesworth, to help it plan a new warning system.

“We have a flood plain management function as part of the Catchment Management Authority, most of our studies have historically been on the towns,” GBCMA chief executive Chris Norman said.

“That’s where the greatest impact is and the greatest cost to government and private property.

‘This is the first time we have done a major flood study on the Goulburn and Broken Rivers, from a rural perspective.”

He said the public meetings were held to find out local knowledge about floods, which would be used in mapping.

“Local information is the best you can get,” Mr Norman said.

“We will end up with a whole lot of modelled information, models that show levels of inundation and this will help us a lot with flood mapping

 “A lot of will be to understand the impacts. It will be about saying where a flood warning system will help.”

But farmers in the area said not enough was being done to monitor river and creek flows, in the area.

Yea beef producer Jan Beer, Cheviot Hills, said farmers had given the GBCMA and the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) information about flood flows, over many years.

“Even the Constraints Management Strategy stated that the GBCMA had plenty of information on the big floods, but very little data on the smaller flows that they were proposing under constraints,” Ms Beer said.

“And now they are saying the opposite.”

She said the study would cost $200,000, which should be used to install 10 streamflow gauges.

“Only about 50 per cent of the catchment between Eildon and Trawool is gauged.

“Where were they going to get sufficient data for their modelling if there is very little gauging?”

Molesworth beef producer Les Ridd said Les Ridd said last December heavy storms saw the Goulburn River rise very quickly, particularly where the Home, Crystal and Scrubby Creeks flowed into it.

 “We are really in a choke, at Molesworth; it really comes in tight, and it can’t get away.”

He said it appeared the GBCMA was seeking to “reinvent the wheel.

“We have done all that, through the MDBA,” Mr Ridd said.

“They said it had nothing to do with the MDBA at all, this is a separate organisation doing this.

“How they can’t work together, I’m damned if I know.”

Mr Ridd said farmers in the area already had an early warning system, in place.

“All we do, if we know we are getting a lot of rain, is ring a neighbour upstream,” he said.

David Mold, “Barina”, Killingworth, agreed that better gauging was needed on some of the Goulburn tributaries.

“Home Creek badly needs a gauge on it, it just comes down there, like a rocket,” Mr Mold said.

“These people need to go back to government and thump the desk and say ‘if we were to put a gauge in, it would be more accurate.

“But it’s always the same old story, they haven’t got enough money.

“It’s time they found a new hymn, that one’s getting a bit old.”

He said traffic on the Maroondah Highway, through Molesworth, had increased dramatically.

“They should come up with some really concrete for the little township of Molesworth, that’s where the bottleneck is.

“You can’t turn a car around, let alone a B-Double semi-trailer.”

Shifting stock from low-lying areas was not such a problem.

“I’ve been here long enough to work it out for myself – it’s easier to bring them up, before it’s too late, than afterwards.

“I’ve learned to use a bit of common sense. If I take them out, too soon, I haven’t lost anything.”

Mr Norman said the flood mapping would take about 12 months to complete.

It would be useful to the State Emergency Service and state government and council planners.

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