LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, Feb 20: Dam the floods!

Dam the floods!

IT LOOKS like flood number 77 in the last 168 years is about to arrive. According Tom Saunders from the Weather Channel, the CV could receive 400mm of rain plus storm surges.

Most of us will prepare as best we can. I've done the washing and mowing and stocked up the larder with essentials (wine, ice cream and dog food).

Upriver graziers will move their stock to the hills. Visitors planning to have a Yamba weekend may reconsider. Others such as the delta farmers and floodplain residents don't have many options.

The Clarence floods even after relatively short bursts of heavy rain. This is because the Valley's catchment is like a cistern (I call it The Big Flush).

The rain rushes down into the rivers in a short period of time. It's a case of Huey pulling the chain and we receive a drenching.

The Big Flush cuts roads and highways, swamps homes, isolates people, even communities.

It drowns livestock and native wildlife. It affects fisheries, industries and the beaches. It leaves the CVC and residents with an expensive clean-up bill.

Floods have an ongoing negative impact on the Valley's current and future prosperity. It seems like when we start making some progress it gets washed away, leaving us further behind than we were.

There are also other considerations like lost work days and flood insurance premiums.

Currently we have no control over the river. We have to take what it dishes up.

So once again: Is it time to consider building a dam on the Clarence? How would a dam above The Gorge work?

Firstly it would primarily be for flood minimisation. Under normal conditions it would be maintained at a depth of 20-30m, which is less than half full.

As we have advance warning of flooding storms water would be released before it arrived.

During the Big Flush the dam would be allowed to gradually fill over a number of days, which would reduce the unregulated flow.

If filled to its maximum it could hold back 1800GL (and that's a lot of water), for gradual release after the storm had abated.

During a very large flood it may not stop flooding completely but would reduce it significantly.

I drive along the river a lot and it is by far the most beautiful part of the CV. It could end up being at least equal to Yamba as the CV place to visit. A mitigation dam near Townsville is now more popular than Magnetic Island.

There is an unusual benefit.

Its water could be used for "estuary irrigation" during dry times (such as last Christmas) to "fresh" out the schoolies so they would be available when required. Achieving this would be a long-term process. It needs to start somewhere.

Initially this could be a survey which asks, "Do you support a flood minimisation/tourist dam being built on the Clarence River?" If there is a positive response the next step would be to develop an impact statement and a plan for the project.

John Ibbotson, Gulmarrad


Assets in disrepair

IS IT not the council's responsibility to ensure that the parks are maintained and safe?

To let the parks deteriorate to such a state as to be forced into closing them is surely not responsible asset management.

Are they not the property of Clarence Valley residents to which responsible management is surely a priority policy focus of council? Considering the predominantly family recreation destination this valley is known for, I seriously question the motives and or the management capabilities of those responsible for letting these public assets fall into disrepair.

C. Lucas Yamba

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