Murray River stakeholders talk class action against the Murray Darling Basin Authority

RIVER DEFEAT: Corowa Caravan Park manager Julie Bartlett accepts floods will happen, but said the severity of the flood could have been reduced with good management.

RIVER DEFEAT: Corowa Caravan Park manager Julie Bartlett accepts floods will happen, but said the severity of the flood could have been reduced with good management.

THE Corowa Caravan Park succumbed to water late on Monday, but its owners have vowed to “come back”.

“We did our best, but the Murray River beat us this time,” manager Julie Bartlett said.

Park owners Sheryl and Don Ayres watched, alongside 85 annual site holders, as the water rose to cause an estimated $100,000 in damages It had been a physical, mental and emotional struggle for three weeks against the flood.

About 60 volunteers, 2000 sandbags and seven water pumps weren't enough to fend off the mighty Murray.

“There were certainly a lot of tears around the table last night – we will come back, but it will take a lot of hard work and it will be expensive,” Mrs Bartlett said.

The park was one of three in Corowa at risk of flooding and will remain closed indefinitely. Mrs Bartlett said it was “unbelievable” how quickly the water came in.

“There are probably still 40 or so vans down there and about 90 per cent of the park is affected,” she said.

The site was given evacuation orders at 2pm Thursday and told to be out of the park by 6pm Friday.

Water was predicted to reach 6.7 metres on Saturday, but didn't hit the mark.

“In the end, the water didn’t rise until Monday, which is a pity because people could have come up on the weekend to get their vans,” Mrs Bartlett said.

“We’ve had one of wettest winters I can remember, eight weeks ago, the Murray at Corowa was really low, they just stored and stored until they had no choice.”

A further 40 millimetres of rain has been predicted for Wednesday. 

Miscommunication, rapid water rises and water mismanagement were talking points around Corowa on Tuesday.

Several caravan owners, business people and residents spoke of class action.

Murray River Action Group chairman Richard Sargood said water operators from Canberra had committed to a post-flood meeting in the region.

“We will be asking them to justify why there were minimum 600megalitres/day releases on one day, then seven days later they were releasing 45,000,” he said.

“It hasn’t happened for 20 years and the management hasn't gotten any better.

“I have heard class action mentioned, there’s a number of people suggesting a similar thing … with significant rain predicted.

“It makes you wonder why they dropped releases (on Monday and Tuesday).”

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop