LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Flood peak heights in the Belubula River Canowindra have been recorded since 1916 and were suspended during WW11, with one recording, 20 May 1943, 2.84m at 04.00pm. Regular recording then re-commenced 02 April 1950.
In the period 1918 - 2001, flood height peaks were able to be compared such that the 4 highest recorded ones occurred:
1- 6.45m (17.06.52).
2- 6.23m (03.08.90).
3- 5.87m (02.04.50).
4- 5.80m (08.08.98).
The first flood study done covering 10 flood years, 1916 - 1998, was by Snowy Hydro Corporation, this was really only valid to 1995, when the new John Grant Bridge replaced the old single lane bridge over the Belubula River. The river's channel and flow were completely altered as a result.
1990 was the last major flood year experienced with 12 peaks recorded ranging from 2.72m to 6.23m, the 2nd highest ever recorded.
19954 peaks 2.49m - 4.99m.
19966 peaks 3.01m - 5.26m.
19986 peaks 3.52m - 5.80m. (4th highest on record 08 August).
19992 peaks 3.0m - 5.40m.
Of greater significance and a major cause of local flooding in Canowindra was when the railway was completed in 1910. The Coocumber Creek trestle railway bridge caused a continuous major problem when debris dammed the creek's flow. This debris took up 3 days, using machinery, to clear. The last major flood to 2001 occurred in August 1998.
The 17m gap made in June 2001, now seen in the bridge, has reduced the effect of flooding in Canowindra and further bridge damage. This is seen in the 2016, 5 flood peaks recorded as: 5.40m, 5.20m, 5.20m, 5.39m and 5.40m. These peak levels cannot be compared with flood peaks up to 2001.
There is an irony with the recurrence of El Nino events of which there have been 6 (dry times) since 1897, the last ending in November 2009 in which the Belubula River had stopped flowing, for the first time in a living memory of 64 years.