SAVEM’s Logistics officer, Emilis Prelgauskas, wrote today’s post to accompany aerial photos of the 2022/23 River Murray floods.
Photos were taken by Richard Clarkson, Murray Bridge Gliding Club.
The public news is that the water flow peak in the River Murray has passed all the river front townships to be in Lake Alexandrina heading out into the Southern Ocean.
That news leads some people, more used to the relatively fast changing emergency status in bushfire, to heave a sigh of relief that it is all going to be over soon.
All the agencies involved in flood response/recovery have a more realistic appreciation. The emergency declaration may cease for a variety of individual elements of the emergency – sequentially, as each situation stabilises.
First, the water levels in the river itself need to fall again to ‘normal’ levels. Then the already impacted adjacent flood plains need to be ‘de-watered’ involving water pumping and re-establishment of damaged levees to permit land areas to dry out. Then the real work begins – getting access to places, clearing accumulated rubbish/toxins/demolition of damaged/derelict infrastructure, repair to access and services so that landowners can start their recovery.
The same delayed recovery is involved in the land and animals. Saturated land will be unable to support new vegetation, including feed for animals, both livestock and wildlife. ‘Wild places’ will need as much clean up and management as do river front townships and farm holdings. The time scale is years.
The delay timescale to even begin is months. Many unknowns continue – will the Menindee waters bring further delay to water level decline. In the interim the activities of emergency organisations such as SAVEM continues, monitoring and responding to individual situations as they arise. An extension to SAVEM’s activation will depend on the needs of DEW should they request ongoing veterinary support, which SAVEM is very happy to provide. Remaining formally activated means SAVEM continues to operate under State arrangements, which safeguards the activities of our volunteers, and ensures our access to State Government services and support.
Emilis Prelgauskas, SAVEM Logistics Manager
Waikerie, towards the airfield