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Waterways need our help after fire

News article |

This year’s Bangor bushfires and follow up rainfall events have prompted a reminder for landholders in the southern flinders ranges to take extra care in protecting watercourses on their property.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Water Officer Jennifer Munro says water has the potential to move quicker through fire affected areas due to decreased vegetation cover.

"It's really important that landholders in the fire/flood area manage their watercourses.

"Fire reduces vegetative cover which means in some areas, water may move quicker across the land and there may be watercourse channels that are limited in capacity to carry this extra flow, leading to flood-outs, stripping of topsoil and accelerated erosion,” she said.

Ms Munro says keeping tall weedy species controlled and clearing waste from waterways and flood-out areas are positive, practical actions to help protect the watercourses and your property.

"Even what we would consider a 'normal' rainfall event has the potential to cause flooding in areas with less vegetation to intercept flow.

"This can lead to waterways overbanking or overflowing, so it is good practice to check watercourses and see that banks are clear to a width or around 40m of things like old car bodies, whitegoods, weedy plants and debris, barrels and other large items.

In addition to vegetation management, it may be necessary to undertake protective earthworks such as levy banking or drainage channels in order to reduce the risk of flooding of homes and infrastructure.

Ms Munro reminds landholders that this type of work in or near a watercourse may require a Water Affecting Activity permit.

"Landholders have regulatory responsibilities to maintain natural resources in good condition, including management of natural flows of water to reduce flooding, erosion or sedimentation on neighbouring properties or the environment."

“A Water Affecting Activity permit is required in some instances to ensure the integrity of the catchment as a whole is maintained through on ground works.”

Other benefits of watercourse management include decreased erosion, improved water quality, a decrease in insect pests, increased property value, shelter effects, healthy ecosystems and retention of nutrients and sediment.

For further information contact Northern and Yorke Water Officer Jennifer Munro on 0429 362 008.

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