Drone over Forbes floods finds message for governments

RAISE THE WALL.

The three-word message has appeared on the roof of a Forbes business as floodwater sprawls across the rich farmlands of the Lachlan Valley and wipes out what looked set to be a bumper harvest.

Darren Jelbart said it was a customer who challenged him to take a stand on the issue, after Premier Dominic Perrottet visited Forbes.

The Premier told media in Forbes on Thursday that the NSW Government was committed to doing due diligence on the project, and would work with the Federal Government as business plans are put together.

Mr Perrottet was taken to Bedgerabong to meet one farmer who's facing the ruin of major flooding for the second time in five years, and his take on it was pretty simple.

"Just get in and get it done," Scott Darcy said, while acknowledging he wouldn't want the Premier's job "for quids".

RAISE THE WALL: It's a blunt message as the Lachlan Valley sees flooding for the second time in five years. Picture: Craig Dwyer

RAISE THE WALL: It's a blunt message as the Lachlan Valley sees flooding for the second time in five years. Picture: Craig Dwyer

Darren Jelbart, whose Tyrepower business roof the message appears on, is just about as blunt.

Jelbarts' truck shed remains inundated with water and they're trying to run two businesses out of one premises, but it's really the farmers he's speaking up on behalf of.

"They should be harvesting, but their crops are under a foot of water," he told the Advocate on Friday afternoon.

"The whole community - if the wall was higher we probably wouldn't be in this predicament now and we'd have more storage for next year."

RAISE THE WALL: It's a blunt message on the roof of a Forbes business as the Lachlan Valley sees flooding for the second time in five years. Picture: Craig Dwyer

RAISE THE WALL: It's a blunt message on the roof of a Forbes business as the Lachlan Valley sees flooding for the second time in five years. Picture: Craig Dwyer

Professor Jamie Pittock has told Australian Community Media, publishers of the Forbes Advocate, that wall-raising is the wrong way to manage flood risk.

"There are cheaper, more effective flood management alternatives; and the high water levels generate a lot of socio-economic and environmental benefits that would be lost if medium sized floods are captured by a higher dam," Prof Pittock said. That full story here.

"Try telling that to Forbes," was the response of Member for Riverina Michael McCormack.

Mr McCormack said the raising of the Wyangala Dam wall by 10 metres would not only increase the water storage capacity of the dam by 650 gigalitres, it would also give authorities more flexibility in preventing flood events.

"To suggest raising the Wyangala Dam wall would worsen the impact of floods and to accuse relevant authorities of water mismanagement is misinformed and is a smack in the face to the people living along the Lachlan River catchment as well as to Water New South Wales, which many locals believe has done an outstanding job to minimise the impact of this flooding event," Mr McCormack said.

When Prof. Pittock says there are "cheaper" alternatives, it is not just about doing things on the cheap, Mr McCormack said.

"But on the issue of cost, just imagine the value of the current floodwater, had it been used for agricultural production, which would be enormous."

ICYMI: A second RAISE THE WALL has been put up on the bridge over the swollen Lake Forbes on Saturday. Picture: Susie Williams-Green

ICYMI: A second RAISE THE WALL has been put up on the bridge over the swollen Lake Forbes on Saturday. Picture: Susie Williams-Green

Mr McCormack said the comments were "hard to cop".

"Try telling that to the primary producers who stand to lose millions of dollars because their crops have been ruined," he said.

"Try telling that to the Mayors of Cowra and Forbes, Councillors Bill West and Phyllis Miller OAM, who have seen their communities face flood adversity too many times.

"Try telling that to the freight companies and commuters who were severely affected when the floods of 2016 closed the Newell Highway for more than six weeks.

"Try telling that to our farmers who had to move stock to higher ground and arrange fodder drops to stranded cattle and sheep.

"Try telling that to the people of Forbes who have had their houses inundated by two flood events in the past five years."

What do you think?

Send a letter to the editor by filling out the online form below.

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: