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Anxiety continues over flood levees

Houses along the riverbank of the Clarence River in Grafton protected by a levee during one of the 2013 floods.
Houses along the riverbank of the Clarence River in Grafton protected by a levee during one of the 2013 floods. Jojo Newby

GREAT Marlow and Southgate farmers say plans to raise the height of levee banks upstream of the Grafton bridge could be a disaster for them, but no one is listening.

Yesterday more than 15 of them gathered at the home of Greg Nicholls, at Great Marlow, to discuss what they could do about it.

Some, like Nita Childs, have lived in the area for five decades and can remember the region flooding without levees.

Others, like Paul Brotherson, bought land in the area in the past decade and have paid the price of enduring four floods in five years.

Some of them had been to the RMS staffed display of its second Grafton bridge on Wednesday night to discuss their issues.

However, none of them were satisfied with the answers they received.

Bill Holroyd, who has a property in Butters Lane on Alipou Creek, said he asked for a guarantee the southern bridge approaches, which will be close to his property, won't affect him.

"They told me there would be no more water through the property, so I said, 'good, you can give it to me in writing'," Mr Holroyd said.

Mr Holroyd's experience with the levees has not been good. He said since the construction of the Heber St levee in South Grafton in 1996 an extra 900mm of water goes through his place in a flood.

"Show me the EIS that says an extra 900mm of water will go through my property," he said. "You can't because there isn't one."

He said construction of the levee began without an EIS in 1994 and the study was only done after it was finished.

Mr Brotherson, who bought a riverfront property on Great Marlow Rd about 10 years ago, said silting in the river was a huge issue.

"The last flood left about one and a half foot of mud and sand on the bank," he said.

"If there's that much on the bank, how much is building up in the river?"

Nita Childs has lived in Southgate all her life and sees off countless floods, but the 2013 inundation scared her.

"Normally the flood hits here 12 to 24 hours after it peaks in Grafton, but this time it flooded here before the Grafton peak," she said.

"It was because there were breaks in the levee wall."

Now she is worried the levee is still in need of repair and could fail again in the next flood.

Topics:  clarence river, flood, grafton, levee banks




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