Flood-bound for 10 days
ENTRENCHED flooding in the West Coraki and Bora Ridge area in the Lower Bungawalbin is not being held back from drainage by faulty floodgates, according to Michael Wood from Richmond River County Council.
Approximately 80 residents remained isolated in the Bungawalbin area yesterday, including 30 people around Bora Ridge and a further 50 people along a 25km stretch of Bungawalbin-Whiporie Rd.
The SES organised a food drop-off for properties along the road and one person was evacuated by helicopter for medical reasons.
Some locals have now been cut off for more than 10 days and last week speculation among the Bora Ridge community was rife that a closed floodgate at the junction of Sandy and Bungawalbin Creeks was partly to blame.
But Mr Wood said if the floodgate was open, the area would be even more inundated from water flowing westward from the Richmond River.
"It's not the floodgates causing the issue; they are actually protecting those properties from the Richmond River. They would have two metres instead of one metre of water if the gates were open," Mr Wood said.
"The water is up to a metre above the gates.
"It will need to drop between one and two metres before they get any relief. Nothing can discharge until the river drops - that's the big controlling factor," Mr Wood said.
Mr Wood observed a stretch of water approximately 15km long still covering the floodplain south and west of the Richmond from Rocky Mouth Creek at Woodburn through Swan Bay to West Coraki - and it's dropping at a snail's pace.
"With the persistent topping up of the river, it leads to a prolonged event and there's not much you can do about it," he said.
Showers are expected to linger over the next week, and with a potential cyclone now forming off North Queensland, possibly bringing more rainfall to the Northern Rivers, the long-term outlook doesn't look hopeful.
"Given the catchment conditions, anything that falls will be purely run-off and go straight over the floodplain," Mr Wood said.