9 August 2020

UPDATED: SES warns evacuations may be necessary as Moruya River rises

| Genevieve Jacobs
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The flood swollen Deua River at Woola. Photo: Peter Smith.

UPDATE 6:30 pm, August 9: Moruya CBD residents have been advised to evacuate the area as soon as possible and make for higher grounds as the Moruya River continues to rise on the back of heavy rains throughout the catchment.

Read more SES orders Moruya CBD evacuation, residents should seek higher ground

Kiora Bridge

The flooded Kiora Bridge, near Moruya. Photo: Keith Doran, Facebook.

UPDATE 2:45 pm, August 9: Moruya residents are now being told to prepare for evacuations later today as the Moruya River continues to rise and major flooding is forecast.

The NSW SES is now advising residents and businesses in the Moruya CBD to prepare themselves to evacuate during daylight hours today. A Flood Evacuation Order will be issued by the NSW SES if evacuation is required.

Evacuees should stay with family or friends outside the Moruya CBD, unless that destination is more vulnerable. If you are currently in self-isolation due to COVID-19, contact the local Public Health Unit on 1800 004 599 before leaving your home where possible.

The SES says that once water levels begin to rise in the Moruya River and surrounding creeks, there’s likely to be flooding of roads, sewerage lines, yards, sheds and low lying buildings. Power could also be lost.

Locations within the Moruya CBD that may be affected East of Vulcan Street (Princes Highway):

  • Shore Street
  • Church Street
  • Queen Street
  • Ford Street
  • Campbell Street
  • East of Murray Street towards to Princes Highway
  • John Street.

The SES warns that if you are not prepared to leave if an Evacuation Order is issued, road closures and detours may result in you becoming trapped and that Emergency Services cannot always rescue or assist people if conditions are too dangerous.

Moruya River

The Moruya River at high tide. Photo: Alex Rea.

UPDATE 11:30 am, August 9: The Moruya River is expected to break its banks sometime late this afternoon as the SES warns that the CBD is at risk of flooding, many local streets will be affected and the Princes Highway will be cut by floodwaters.

Across the South East, and towards the coast, heavy falls have been recorded at Majors Creek, where 142 mm has fallen in the past 24 hours, and 159 mm at Araluen. Rossi has recorded 128 mm, while on the coast weather stations around Moruya have recorded falls of between 140 and 160 mm.

Moderate flooding is expected along the Moruya River on Sunday and the river at Moruya Bridge is expected to exceed the minor flood level (2.00 m) around 1:00 pm Sunday. The SES says that the river level may peak near the moderate flood level (2.70 metres) 5:00 pm Sunday, with moderate flooding.


Roadways are being cut across the region. Do not attempt to drive through. Photo: Karyn Starmer.

Based on the prediction provided by the Bureau of Meteorology, it’s expected that this will close the Princes Highway in both directions, impacting the Moruya CBD, North Moruya and the Commercial and Industrial areas of town.

The SES says that the following areas are also likely to be affected:

  • Mullenderre Flats, Yaragee, Gundary and Kiora districts
  • Access to Moruya Airport
  • Roadways leading to Bendethera Camping Area
  • Moruya Bowling and Recreation Club, Moruya swimming pool, Moruya Showground, Moruya Kindergarten
  • Almost all of the streets servicing Moruya CBD, Albert Street, River Street, Campbell Street, Murray Street, Shore Street. Many local streets will be affected.

Major flooding is also possible at Wamban today where the Deua River is expected to peak around 7.40 metres 1:00 pm Sunday, with moderate flooding. Further rises to major level are possible this evening.

Moruya breakwater

The Moruya breakwater at high tide. Photo: Alex Rea.

People in areas likely to be impacted by flooding should collect children, pets, items to keep you warm, food, water, torch, a mobile phone, a charger, something to attract attention and valuables like photos and important papers.

Decide if and where you and your family will evacuate and make arrangements to go to the home of family or friends who are in a safe location away from present and potential flooding. Take your pets with you.

If you are a carer for the elderly, children, and people who need support, then arrange for those in your care to move to a safer place.

In addition, the SES suggests:

  • Raise moveable items, such as furniture, as high as possible onto benches or tables, placing electrical items on top.
  • Collect or create sandbags by filling pillowcases or plastic shopping bags with sand and be ready to place them around doorways and in toilets and over drains to prevent sewerage backflow.
  • Stock up on water, canned goods, batteries, fuel, gas, medicines, baby necessities and pet food.
  • Avoid storm drains and pipes, ditches, ravines and rivers. Never drive, walk, ride through, play or swim in floodwater, it is dangerous and toxic.

Farmers and businesses are encouraged to:

  • Move pumps, animals and equipment to higher ground before roads close and organise for sufficient stock feed and water for your animals.
  • Move poisons, waste and chemicals to high storage locations.
  • Gather important business documents, and records and keep them with you, back up computers.
    Schools are encouraged to:
  • Make contact to clarify changes in attendance or closures.

The SES says that safety must be your highest priority. Never drive, walk or play in flood waters. “If it’s flooded, forget it”.

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I live in England and we have our share of floods up North, but not on this scale. Is there anything that can be done in future to prevent river banks from over flooding?
I know this may be unexpected, but in future times is there anything that can be done to prevent this? I parts of Uk they have introduced Beavers to clear rivers of Silt by logging . But of course this is a different situation altogether. After all the horrific bushfires Australia had to endure the country and its people and wildlife has certainly been through it. Lets hope things will improve. Climate change doesn’t help . but we could and now . Good luck

Floods are part of our environment. Rivers flood – it’s what they do when there’s a lot of rain. Building cities and towns in such a way that they either don’t get flooded or can divert floodwater maybe. It’s a happy thing to see water in Australia.

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