Connolly Dam overflows as huge rains batter Southern Downs. Picture: SDRC
Connolly Dam overflows as huge rains batter Southern Downs. Picture: SDRC

Skyrocketing Storm King levels bring 12 months’ supply

Two days of drenching rain has sent dam levels across the Southern Downs skyrocketing, renewing hope for producers and community members alike.

The most recent official readings from Southern Downs Regional Council states Stanthorpe's Storm King Dam has swelled from 21 to 75.6 per cent by about 7pm on Tuesday. 

Earlier that afternoon, Mayor Vic Pennisi hoped additional flows could eventually push the dam to full capacity for the first time in years.

With Connolly Dam also spilling over by about 2pm on Tuesday afternoon, Cr Pennisi said the drenching rains were the answer to residents' prayers.

"(Storm King's) levels will give us about 12 months' supply. There's more water running in, it's still climbing - I wouldn't be surprised if it's already higher than 60 per cent," he said.

"It's great to see the land being saturated - we've been in it together and we've overcome the obstacles, and we'll overcome the obstacles together in the future.

"There'll certainly be heartache out there for people whose crops are close to being harvested, and my heart goes out to them."

 

The Coombes Bridges under water as the Condamine River spills over in Warwick. Picture: Tessa Flemming / Warwick Daily News
The Coombes Bridges under water as the Condamine River spills over in Warwick. Picture: Tessa Flemming / Warwick Daily News

 

Allora grain producer Jeff Lack was just one farmer to face that hardship, who despite being overjoyed by the rain, said it would cost him part of a ripe sorghum crop worth almost $500,000.

"At the moment I'd say we've probably had 130mm over the last 24 hours, and there'll be more to come today I'd say," Mr Lack said.

"Dalrymple Creek wasn't running this morning at Allora, and now we've just come back from a drive through town and it's about two thirds of the way up, and I say it'll be up to the bridge in another couple of hours.

 

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"The rain always gives and takes, that's just reality. We certainly do need it and it's well and truly overdue, there's no question about that."

Warwick cattle producer Bill Gross agreed the almost torrential downpour was exactly what the Southern Downs needed heading into winter.

"It's excellent, it's the best rain we've had in about 20 years. I'm not too sure what we've had at Risdon Stud, but we've had 160mm at Freestone and 125mm in Victoria St" Mr Gross said.

"It's a funny thing to say it might be a bit too much in some places, but it'll make for great winter crops (such as) wheat, barley, and oats."

 

Lake Leslie Tourist Park, Leslie Dam Road overflowing with water as Warwick receives 130mm+ in one day. Picture: Adam and Caroline Bennett /Lake Leslie Tourist Park
Lake Leslie Tourist Park, Leslie Dam Road overflowing with water as Warwick receives 130mm+ in one day. Picture: Adam and Caroline Bennett /Lake Leslie Tourist Park

 

The latest data from SunWater indicates Leslie Dam in Warwick is also on the rise, swelling from 11.5 per cent on Tuesday morning to 15.27 per cent by that afternoon.

Lake Leslie Tourist Park owners Adam and Caroline Bennett said they received at least 140mm this week, which would prime the campsite for the influx of visitors at Easter.

"The dam's really gone up since (Monday), and it'll probably creep up to about 18 per cent I reckon," Mr Bennett said.

"We tried to get out this morning but the road flooded and cut us off … I think it's been about six years since we saw Leslie Dam Road go under."

If you're in an emergency situation, call triple-zero or Warwick SES on 13 25 00.



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