While hundreds of people across the Far West celebrate the arrival of the New Year, Leonard Baust is moving some of his possessions to his son’s home after a near-record flood hit his Menindee property. I got
- Leonard Baust owns property on a currently flooded irrigation road.
- Baust has experienced multiple floods in the area
- He says he can’t remember a time when more water was flowing through the system
Baust lives behind an irrigation road in one of the areas hardest hit by the floods that affected the town.
The 86-year-old has lived in the area since the late 1970s and has witnessed several major floods from the Darling River during this time.
But he said he had never had so much rain in a year and had never seen the river rise as quickly as over the weekend.
“I think it must have risen about two feet [60 centimetres] overnight,” he said.
“I was in shock.”
“I’ve never seen water run so fast,” he said.
Baust said Lake Menindee has been under some sort of flood watch over the past year, and given the volume of water in the lake system, it was surprising how quickly water was flowing into the Darling River.
“It’s been there for about 12 months and is a complete river,” he said.
“Then I ran away [the banks of the Darling River] About a month ago I entered two of my embankments and sat there for a while.
“It broke through the embankment of the embankment and filled the front of the block.”
He thankfully said his house was not yet affected by the flood.
Due to rapidly changing messages from WaterNSW and state emergency services, Baust said he was unable to attend last week’s community meeting when SES issued an evacuation notice for his street.
By December 27, residents of the town believed the river would remain at 9.6 meters, but on January 30, missing water from Taliyawarka Creek forced authorities to order an evacuation order.
The order was based on a predicted record flood of 10.7 meters hitting the town’s lowlands.
Menindee locals said this is the game they play when they live on the river bank.
“You will get caught,” he said.
“The rest of the time, I have plenty of time to go out.”
“Nobody could do anything about it this time. You can’t blame anyone.”
Baust said he will have to wait until he can return home to investigate the water damage.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-02/menindee-western-nsw-resident-darling-river-flooding-property/101822422 Residents of Menindee remember the moment when the Darling River rose