New South Wales floods to last two years

By Boyd Champness

SOME farm in far western New South Wales could remain under water for another two years despite mop-up efforts and relief funding for one of the worst floods the state has ever seen.

Hundreds of properties lost livestock and fencing and were cut off from main roads after floods swept across Broken Hill, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Tilpa and Paroo at the end of February.

NSW Farmers Association president John Cobb told The Age newspaper that some farmers faced bills of A$50,000 (19,000) for fencing and at least one property had lost all its estimated 4000 stock.

“We still have people who have their households three foot under water … and will still be inundated with water for up to 18 months.

“Only evaporation will get rid of their problem,” he was quoted as saying in The Age.

“The western division has done it tough because of wool prices and because of drought, and now these people have had a disaster no one ever foresaw.”

An appeal has raised A$180,000 for farmers in the area. The cost of the floods to NSW has been estimated at A$10 million (3.8m).

Lake Eyre – a 1.3 million-hectare (3.2m acre) salt pan in outback South Australia, which normally struggles to justify its name – is starting to receive water for the first time since 1989.

The fact that Lake Eyre is filling up – and will remain full for two years – puts into perspective the amount of water inland Australia is now receiving via the countrys intricate river system after wild storms and cyclones ravaged Australias northern coastline back in February.

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