Our First Flood Warning

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.

Hawkesbury Water Level

Hawkesbury Water Level

Railings unlocked, debris building

Railings unlocked, debris building

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.

No flood now

No flood now

Hawkesbury at normal level

Hawkesbury at normal level

As is often the case with these things, it was much ado about nothing. And to that I say, thank goodness!


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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8 Responses to Our First Flood Warning

  1. karen says:

    No worries in Greensboro, North Carolina. Just sayin’.

  2. vuchickens says:

    glad you weren’t affected. floods are NO fun!

  3. I am glad you are on high ground – floods are scary.

  4. I am glad the house seems to be well above flood level,and I am sure that you will have stockpiled enough to keep you going if the roads don’t allow access for a while. We often have the road into town flooded during the wet season. I enjoy it when i am stranded at home, but not when I am at work and cant get home!

    • In my own home I could survive ages without running to the shops but I’m not really stocked up at the farm yet. I guess that’s a warning that duplicating a few supplies might be a good idea.

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