WHEN 200 yards of railway track along the Capricorn Highway collapsed during the Emerald floods, business owner Roy Woods was met with a wall of water.
“We knew it was coming. I’ve been waiting for this for two years,” Mr Woods said.
“We were sitting down having a beer and next thing we knew there was this wall of water.
“It wouldn’t have taken long, probably just five minutes for the water to get down to where we were. The railway line acts as a levee bank, so when it collapsed the water came straight through.
“Last time it only came up to the back gate behind the business. There was no water in the yard at all. This time it was up to my nose.”
Having lived in Emerald all his life, Mr Woods was unfazed by the floods.
“I just sat out on the road with all my vehicles and five horses for four days and that’s where I stayed,” he said.
Mr Woods described the LN1 drain currently in place as inadequate.
“Years ago they used to have a big wooden bridge and the water could just flow beneath it,” he said.
“Then they had one big pipe and now they’ve got more but it still won’t help prevent more floods.
“There’s that much water that comes round there, it’ll just hit the drain, build up and come straight over the top again.”
Mr Woods said the flooding of his business and most of Emerald for that matter, could have been prevented by two simple levee systems.
“When the river bypasses, all they have to do is build a big levee bank where this comes off the river and then shoot it down the river.
“Then if we had another levee bank over near the QRI and probably two or three other levee banks along Opal Street on the river, the town would be secure.
“I don’t know who’s in charge, whether it’s SunWater or the council but they need to do a hydrology study to predict what would happen if they put these levee banks in place.”
While Mr Woods’ proposed levee system would protect the majority of the town from flooding, very little could be done to protect newer properties built on the natural floodplain, he said.
“There’s not much you can do to protect those homes - there’s no high ground. The current council and previous councils all knew it was flooded country but they still let people build here.
“The silly part about it is that they will probably just keep building these houses flat on the ground right in the floodway.”
“There’s that much water that comes round there it’ll just hit the drain, build up and come straight over the top again.”
Emerald business owner Roy Woods
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