Emergency Channel Near Old Bar

Filed under Alert & Warning, Council, Midcoast LGA ~ by Press on  10 Feb 2020

Emergency powers enabled the opening of Farquhar Inlet on the South Manning river north of Old Bar to relieve flooding.

Channel being dug across beach north Old Bar to relieve flooding in South Manning estuary.

Contractors were on standby over the weekend to open a channel across the beach once the flood warning was received early Sunday morning from the SES and Bureau of Meteorology.

The inlet was opened around 3pm on Sunday with two excavators used to complete the work before the low tide period.

The location of the opening was determined as being the lowest section of the beach, linked to a deep back channel resulting in a good release point for the river, and the last place the inlet closed back in 2017.

The opening over the weekend was installed purely as a flood management measure, to allow a quick opening to ease river levels,” explained Gerard Tuckerman, MidCoast Council’s Manager Natural Systems.

In this instance the flooding behind the beach berm reached and exceeded the required trigger of 1.6m at the Farquhar gauge making it imperative that a narrow channel was excavated to allow flood waters to exit and scour the entrance.”

Since the inlet closed in October 2017, there has been a significant number of requests from the public to have it reopened, however this ordinarily requires a Crown Lands Licence to undertake the work. However, emergency powers can be used in the case of a flood warning.

The opening instantly helped to relieve the river and a crowd of locals were on hand to witness the release event, but Council is urging the public to be mindful that this is a temporary, flood relief measure.

Council is appreciative of the assistance of locals who provided knowledge towards this outcome.

We do need to stress that the natural dynamics of the system will eventually close the inlet again, once this rain eases and river flows slow. This could happen quickly if follow up rain does not eventuate.

We are working with the key stakeholders and Crown Lands to better manage the inlet in the future, not just as a reactive measure.”

Members of the public are also reminded that the opening will cause changes in the area and to take care and stay back from the opening.

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