On the Richmond Farm we’re kind of vulnerable to flooding. Not the house so much (it’s on stilts, on top of a mound, standing on a slight hill) but apparently the road floods and we could become a little island. So the first time we heard a flood warning, we paid attention. Warragamba dam was spilling and the water was heading our way!!!
You see, we live downstream from Sydney’s water supply, Warragamba dam (or we will live there once we finally move in permanently). For many years the dam was running out of water so there was a lot of valid concern about water security and a plethora of activity around ensuring access to good water by all citizens. Water restrictions, building of a desalination plant, wide-spread installation of private rain water tanks and drought tolerant plants popping up in gardens everywhere were some of the consequences of a long period of drought.
Well, that’s ancient history. The drought has broken and the dam sits at or near 100%. Which means there’s not much capacity for it to act as a buffer against excess rain. Last week there was a lot of rain in the catchment area causing the dam to spill and the bridge behind our house to be put on flood watch: locals were pulling their irrigation pumps out of harms way, RTA (our road authority) staff were pacing back and forth checking out the height of the river; ducks were swimming through what hours before was scrub; commuters were worried about making a 1 1/2 detour if the bridge did actually close; Frank and I were watching, waiting, wondering.
The water reached 7.9 meters. The railings were unlocked so they could be lowered when the water crossed the road. Debris was building at the low points on the bridge.
Then the water went down (now, 6 days later, it’s at about 1 metre) and everyone went back to doing whatever it is they normally do.
As is often the case with these things, it was much ado about nothing. And to that I say, thank goodness!