SOUTH Gippsland stock agent David Phelan didn’t hang around for the usual chit-chat after Wednesday’s prime sale at Leongatha on Wednesday this week, he was on a mission.
“I moved some of my cows and calves across before I went to the market which is just as well because it’s under four foot of water now,” said David this afternoon at Stacey’s Bridge just outside of Yarram.
“It has come up that fast out of the Albert River that it’s pushed the water coming down Billy Creek back up the other way.
“It’s like the parting of the red sea, you can see a line of dirty water that’s coming from down the Albert River and the clear, clean water coming down Billy Creek.”
Of course, there’s then no where for the Billy Creek water to go except out over the paddocks.
“It’s gone from no water in the paddock to completely covered in an hour. You don’t want to miss the jump.”
David got home in time to move the rest of his cattle to higher ground, an activity that’s been repeated right across the district from Welshpool east, where most of the rainfall coming down from the NSW north coast has fallen.
“We’ve had 5½ inches or 140ml in a day and a half and it’s still raining,” he said.
However, despite the fact that the fast-flowing rivers around Yarram, from Billy Creek in the west to Bruthen Creek, flowing through the township of Woodside in the east, the rain has generally been welcomed by local farmers.
“Actually we’ve had a good summer but with that easterly wind blowing for three weeks, it has knocked the country around a bit and we’ve had a pretty dry March, so the rain is very welcome.
“It’s just what the doctor ordered out Woodside way where it’s refilled all the dams and hopefully set them up for some good autumn growth.”
In the meantime, however, it has caused plenty of disruption.
The Yarram Secondary College was closed for the day due to access problems and there will be issues with milk pick-ups in some areas.
It’s also possible that the South Gippsland Highway will have water running over it at Alberton (Albert River), especially if peak flow coincides with the big high tide of tonight at around 9.20 (2.6 tide).
On the other side of Yarram, the Tarra River is also well up and authorities will be watching levels there as well so take care.
So far, most farmers have been able to adapt to the sudden deluge, and made the necessary adjustments.
Yarram greywater alert
South Gippsland Water is asking Yarram residents to delay any use of water (Wednesday) for their dishwashers and washing machines to reduce the amount of greywater entering the system.
“The heavy rain has meant Yarram Pump Station is receiving a higher level than usual amount of greywater and stormwater,” the water corporation said.
“We’re asking Yarram residents and businesses if they can assist us to manage the situation by reducing their use of water for today.
“Dishwashers and washing machines produce a lot of domestic greywater and reducing this will help us reduce any risk to your system.
“We thank you for your patience and will provide regular updates on social media and our website – System Updates and Alerts – South Gippsland Water (sgwater.com.au) – throughout the day.”