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SA’s second Murray peak to go even higher

Premier Peter Malinauskas says a second peak in the Murray River flows in South Australia will go higher than a first peak likely to hit in early December.

November 24, 2022
By Tim Dornin
24 November 2022

A second peak in Murray River flows through South Australia is now likely to hit 185 gigalitres a day in late December.

Latest modelling has river flows rising to 175GL a day early next month, before a period when the river will settle.

However, the second peak will now hit around Christmas after recent rains interstate and the release of water from the Hume Dam.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said to put that in perspective, the flows would be close to the total amount of water consumed by all South Australians over a full year.

“We now face the prospect of that coming across the border every single day,” he said on Thursday.

“It’s a lot of water. It presents a lot of challenges.”

The flooding down the Murray is set to be the worst since the 1970s, with more than 4000 properties, including shacks, homes and businesses, likely to be inundated.

Some of the areas most at risk include Renmark, near the Victorian border, and Mannum, east of Adelaide, where a levee may be built down the main street, potentially stranding some homes and shops on the wrong side of the barrier.

Earlier this week the state government unveiled a $51.6 million assistance package for property owners impacted by the rising water.

The money will fund levee construction and repairs, support tourism and other businesses, and provide assistance to homeowners.

It includes $9.3 million for levee works, $4.8 million for sandbags and other defences, rental assistance for families, grants of up to $20,000 for businesses forced to close, and grants to buy generators for properties set to lose power.

The government has also set aside $1 million for mental health support, $3 million for vouchers to encourage tourists to continue to visit the region, and $10 million for infrastructure repairs, including roads.

Individuals will be able to apply for $400 personal hardships grants, with families to receive $1000.

South Australia will take delivery of 4km of flood barriers from Italy on Thursday, and expects an extra 400,000 sandbags to arrive in the coming days.

State Emergency Service chief officer Chris Beattie said it was important for river communities to take action now.

He said all people should know their level of risk and, if likely to be flooded, plan when to leave.

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