Another day at the office! On Friday I travelled 3 hours to Loxton in the South Australian Riverland, to reach some of my environmental watering monitoring sites by boat. In September, they were inaccessible by vehicle due to heavy local rains, and now they are inaccessible due to rising river levels.
Flows into South Australia are currently 48,500 ML/d (9 times higher than regulated flows for this time of year) and expected to rise to at least 60,000 ML/d by November and maybe even higher by December. These flows will give a much-needed drink to the floodplains and wetlands which have not been flooded since the 2011-2012 flood peaks. The floodplains have benefited from above average rain in September, so the flood timing is excellent to continue to improve soil moisture stores ahead of the hot summer months.
Environmental watering projects have been maintaining red gum and black box seedlings which germinated in those floods, and watered seedlings are now above head height. The coming flood will add significantly to their chances of survival to reproductive age. The flood is also a timely gift from Nature to continue the process of recovery from the damage caused by the Millenium drought, for a healthier river ecosystem.