Riverland’s second flood peak hits Christmas with 185 gigalitres to flow into the River Murray each day

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South Australia will see a second, higher River Murray flood peak, with authorities saying they now expect 185 gigalitres to flow through per day in the second wave in late December.

The state government has said two peaks are expected, one in early December and another higher peak in late December around Christmas.

While 185 gigaliters is the high probability, there is a moderate chance of 200 gigaliters and a lower probability of 220 gigaliters under the second peak.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said a high probability of 175 gigalitres per day is still expected during the first peak in early December, with the low probability of 220 gigalitres per day falling to 200 gigalitres per day.

“So while there is good news about what we expect in early December, we are certainly on high alert in terms of what will come across the border at the end of December,” Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas said.

Residents of Greater Adelaide consume about 200 gigalitres of water per year.

“We are now faced with the prospect or what is now coming across the border every single day in the River Murray,” he said.

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

Four kilometers of DefenCell flood barriers have been flown into Adelaide from Italy to be sent to the River Country and more than a million sandbags have been collected.

Up to 4,000 properties will be flooded

The reinforcements are part of a $4.8 million flood protection package announced Sunday.

However, Malinauksas said up to 4,000 homes would still be flooded during the peak.

Water levels from the River Murray rise to cottages
Provided by: Swan Reach Museum(Provided by: Swan Reach Museum)

“The combination of a lot of DefenCell products and now over a million sandbags gives us a lot of confidence that where we can make a difference with these materials, we have the ability and the capacity to do so,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“But truth be told, of course we can’t protect every home.

“We can’t get that much water to come over the border and protect every single residence, so we’re still dealing with 4,000 property numbers being flooded as a result of these additional flows.”

Earlier this week, the government declared a major emergency, giving Police Commissioner Grant Stevens additional powers to deal with the flooding crisis.

SES chief executive Chris Beattie said residents needed to act now and look at interactive maps available on the SES website to see if their property would be flooded.

He said those affected should when they wanted to vacate their properties before it was too late.

“This could be driven by road closures in your area, by power outages, loss of sewerage or indeed when water floods over the floorboard, but it’s important that you decide early and in advance when to leave,” Beattie said. .

He said a dyke being built to protect the Renmark Paringa District Hospital had been completed and a number of other dykes across the region were under construction.

Sewage to be cut from Riverland homes

SA Water’s Nicola Murphy told ABC Radio Adelaide about 150 homes would be disconnected from wastewater services by December 9, while another 100 homes also face disconnection.

Last week SA Power Networks warned about 2,000 properties would be cut off from electricity in the coming weeks, with some homes and cabins already cut off.

Ms Murphy said SA Water was working with affected residents to find suitable alternatives, including the use of portaloos and camp toilets.

“Anything we can do to help those residents we will and that’s something we’re working through with those people as they make their decisions at the moment whether they want to stay in their homes or maybe move during the flood ,” she said.

“What we have to think about is the overall ability of our network to cope with the extra amount of water coming into it and our pumping stations being able to pump it through and we’re trying to make sure we maintain as many services as possible for that as many customers as possible for as long as possible.

“In doing so, we isolate a small part of the network, we seek to protect the rest of the network and keep these services running.”

Ms Murphy said SA Water was also working to prevent sewage from entering floodplains.

Access to health services will be “hard”

Residents and visitors to the Riverland are also being urged to plan ahead for their health needs, with road closures imminent.

A woman wearing a purple and white blazer and purple shirt stands in front of news microphones
Dr. Michelle Atchison encourages Riverland residents and visitors to plan their health care. (ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

Australian Medical Association SA president Michelle Atchison said mosquito-borne viruses were also a concern.

“If you have scripts that you need for the coming months, go get them filled out now, if you need a vaccination for your Japanese encephalitis virus, go get it done now, because in the coming weeks health services will be stretched because people are going to use them, but they will also be difficult to access,” she said.

“There’s a lot of medicine that we can do via telehealth, but we can’t give you a virus injection via telehealth, so there are some things you have to start planning now.”

She urged people to stock up on insect repellent before stocks ran low.

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