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Deakin Flash Flooding?

By johnboy - 22 January 2009 36

[First filed: January 16, 2009 @ 10:43]

Someone called “sammyliveshere” has got a serious bee in her bonnet about flash flooding in Deakin.

Her point is that infill in Deakin has put more load on an old storm water infrastructure resulting in her house flooding when it rains. Her profile carries this note:

    Four Storm Water Flash Floods is all a girl can take! Carpets up, floorboards ruined, furniture water stained, 15 x Sandbags lined up and protecting my door! Can’t someone start the work to stop this happening again?

To prove her point she’s uploaded video here, here, here, and here.

UPDATED: SammyLivesHere has made a lengthy comment on this which I thought deserved front page attention:

    Dear All,
    Thank you for all your comments regarding the Storm Water situation in Canberra – particularly old suburbs. Having (yes) met with Mr Hargreaves and others and with a direct line to ActewAGL and TAMS I can assure all the readers of the following:

    Here are my thoughts after reading all these posts. Some people ‘get it’ – some people know what it could be like having the contents of a storm water drain channel through your block/house.. some think I may be crying too loud and ‘what’s a bit of run-off’ maybe?

    ActewAGL had a contract to clean the ‘filter traps’ and maintain sumps – but are now handing it back to TAMS – so when the Yarralumla trap fills (see my photo in the Canberra times on 15 Feb 2007) – it overflows onto the Oval there and right near the Primary School! Take a drive one day and look at the drain system we have.

    “La Mente Torbida” no doubt if you are like me you are also at the Yarralumla Residents meeting for the new “storm water ponds”? Yes, I submitted photos on behalf of Deakin and Yarrlumla residents – and if water comes into you house as well (like it does mine) – yesterday was a close call – at 10cm deep – you may appreciate my video and my 3-year battle with ACT Government to upgrade the older suburbs (and no, there is NO plan in place it is on a disaster by disaster basis).

    I’m working very hard to get ACT Planning (I notice they haven’t been given a plug in this whole mess here) to STOP putting houses on ’slabs’ until they insist the builder builds up like the old house – at least the river would wash past the front door, and not come in it. Mr Barr has a lot to answer for – the shortcuts to approvals here in the ACT absolute amaze me – you would not get such flippant designs and lack of stormwater plans (as compulsory) in WA! Here it is just a guide and you don’t have to ‘do it’…. don’t get me started with this lack of Strategic, ability to view a Contour map – before they approval plans AND ask the question ‘are there any problems with flooding in the area before we approve this fence to fence property or huge complex?’ – like the demolition of the Embassy Site for 4-huge 4-6 storey apartments and guess where their storm water is going to go??? Into pipes already bursting at the seams!

    For the person who said their pipes in the Inner North were replaced – count yourself lucky – the video which JohnBoy led you all to has happened to me four times – and how can ANY reasonable person allow a fellow resident to live in fear like this? No holiday? No ability to call for help (everyone else on holidays)!

    Anyway, I appreciate this is a forum and I’m glad to see nearly everyone appreciates that the present level of redevelopment, of fence to fence houses, large roof space, more catchment, hardspace, no gardens to speak of, and the loss of all our parks to development is getting through – where’s your local park? There’s not much left in Deakin.

    As for driving 4-wheel drives – it seems to me that people use Deakin as a ‘cut through’ to somewhere else – all driving 4-wheel drives, buses etc at great speed – so don’t ask me to slow down in a school zone if they can’t do 50km/hr on my street – lost my cat last year to a speeding driver – but who cares about this? Where are the Police here?

    So, I love Deakin, I love the neighbours – they appreciate the problem but like any normal person stay indoors when it’s raining… me? Next door? Sand-bagging – on high alert and in wet weather gear ‘ready to go’.

    Someone needs to spend $1 million to upgrade the infrastructure – for years many of you and others have put up with water in the garage – as I talk to more and more people (and yes, I’m now been in WIN TV as well) – so many people contact me – how can even that be normal??? But when that house is demolished… what happens now??? A slab home and where does the water go then??? Yes, ACT Planning go “lovely design” – “tick”. They pass the maintenance to TAMS who rely (or relied) on ActewAGL to clean the drains, TAMS to sweep the roads (and how many of you and your neighbours brush your leaves on to the street??) that’s a Canberra habit… the builders don’t keep their dirt from falling down the sump and painters wash their paint tins out… so it’s all so disjointed, with everyone pointing their finger saying “it’s them, not us”.

    Next time it rains (lightning strikes) give a thought to those in the path of storm water rivers (my fault if it came through the roof) – who are fighting to pay their bills because they can’t work when it’s thundering, who have to pay insurance premiums/excess for things they have no control over… and who are not in Fiji but live the same disaster lifestyle – 2 blocks from Kevin Rudd, Prime Minsiter.

    I love Deakin, I love Canberra – no need to be snobby about it – I live next to housing commission and they’re nice people – so we Deakin people are just the same as you.

    Cheers, phew I wrote alot! 🙂

What’s Your opinion?

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36 Responses to
Deakin Flash Flooding?
sepi 3:54 pm 16 Jan 09

Ah – you could be right actually…. they didn’t replace the pipes, they ‘renewed’ them by running new plastic pipe thru the old ceramic.

chewy14 3:35 pm 16 Jan 09

And sepi,

are you sure that wasnt a sewer replacement?

else why wouldnt you be able to use your washing machine?

chewy14 3:33 pm 16 Jan 09

Gungahlin Al,

see link. TAMS run stormwater in ACT.

ACTEWAGL have the contract for stormwater maintenance.

TAMS would be responsible for design and upgrading of the system.

sepi 3:20 pm 16 Jan 09

We were lucky – the pipe ran along the backyard neighbour’s back fence, so everyone on that side of the fence got a huge trench all the way along. Everyone on our side still got a huge hole in our back yard (like 2m deep, big enough for 3 people to stand in). And they took off 4m of fence – and put it back. We also couldn’t use washing machines etc while they did the work (9-5 for about a week).

I believe they did our whole suburb (inner north), and are slowly going around doing all the suburbs with old pipes.

Gungahlin Al 3:18 pm 16 Jan 09

Chewy14: I am pretty sure that ACTEW dont run stormwater maintenance in the ACT.
I think it is an ACT Government function under TAMS.

Living in a new estate, I have had to contact ACTEW three times to have them come out and clear the stormwater system of mud that has run off building sites and caused drains in yards to back up.

54-11 2:01 pm 16 Jan 09

I’ve never heard of them doing that, sepi. I may have a problem with the odd structure if they do that in my area.

sepi 1:35 pm 16 Jan 09

The govt does have a program of going thru older suburbs and replacing ceramic pipes with plastic. They do this along the back fence of entire streets at once.

chewy14 1:24 pm 16 Jan 09

I am pretty sure that ACTEW dont run stormwater maintenance in the ACT.

I think it is an ACT Government function under TAMS.

Anyone know who’s got the current stormwater contract?

astrojax 1:20 pm 16 Jan 09

so ACTEW should have a plan

that’d be a fine thing..!

Gungahlin Al 12:29 pm 16 Jan 09

Think she has a valid complaint, and even a drive along Northbourne after a rainfall will provide ample evidence that not enough is donw in ACT to keep drains clear *before* their blockage causes problems. This is an ACTEW problem.

It is exacerbated by the high proportion of deciduous street trees here, leading to influxes of leaf blocks all at once. We’re stuck with the trees, so ACTEW should have a plan for annual drain maintence over every winter to ensure it’s all clear by the spring rains and summer storms.

It’s one of the roads/rates/rubbish issues that gets lost with our Territory government, but is hell to be on the receiving end of.

In my opinion…

Duke 11:45 am 16 Jan 09

Finally the people of Deakin have a legitimate excuse for such high levels of 4WD ownership.

Holden Caulfield 11:31 am 16 Jan 09

Having been flooded during the Feb 07 hailstorms I can imagine her pain if this happens almost every time Canberra has a big storm.

As a sidenote the driver of the urban assault vehicle in the clip must have felt like John Rambo driving through that much water, haha.

54-11 11:27 am 16 Jan 09

If Hargreaves has anything to do with it, there will be a long wait (maybe an official opening or two).

It’s a function of both growth and maintenance. When these various networks went into the older suburbs, they were based on low-density housing. As more and more aprtments, dual occupancies etc go in, then the load on the system goes up. This has been exacerbated by the greater use of hard surfaces, such as drives, which also adds to the load. Remember when drives were just two strips of concrete with some gravel down the middle? Now they are usually great swathes of concrete drive and parking.

The other problem is lack of maintenance. I remember watching a redevelopment, and as the old pipes were pulled up, you could see that they were half-filled with solidified clay. Basic maths tells you that any reduiction to the diameter has an exponential effect on it’s capacity. These pipes are never cleaned. Once in a while, one ruptures and the broken section is replaced. However, that does nothing to solve the bottlenecks.

So both sammy and la mente above are correct – it’s a double whammy for older Canberra.

jakez 11:02 am 16 Jan 09

When I was working for Senator Humphries I remember getting an email from someone (I think they were from Deakin) about the old stormwater systems in Deakin etc not being up to the job. From memory I think Hargraeves sent a letter indicating that they were doing emergency work at the time and expanding/upgrading the system in the medium term. This would have been a bit longer than a year ago.

No idea what the current status is though.

la mente torbida 10:59 am 16 Jan 09

Don’t know that it is necessarily caused by infill … more likely poorly maintained stormwater … same thing happens in Yarralumla when we get a decent downpour.

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