As a Driver, Flooding is not something you come across every day but nevertheless is one of the more serious of Road conditions that you must prepare for. Should we as Motorists be concerned about flooding on the roads? Most certainly yes! In Sydney flooding is on the increase for a number of reasons most of which are outside of our control. What we can control is how we prepare and how we can cope with what is a serious situation when we are confronted by it. Even driving schools Roxburgh Park train their students to tackle such situations.
Should we hope and pray that it won’t happen to us? Hell no! …those days are gone. The increase and the severity of flooding here in Sydney continues to stretch resources so it’s no longer an option to hope it won’t happen to you. But there is an option that will prevent the misery and heartache. What is that?
Well first of all let’s learn about what causes flooding, where it is most likely to happen and what you can do to ensure that you don’t get a slot on the9 o’clock news!
We will split this article into two parts examining the causes and likely locations and then in part 2 discuss what we as Drivers need to do to be prepared, to stay safe and to keep Bank Balances intact. As all Drivers should know and all young drivers will find out sooner rather than later, owning a car can be one of the biggest drains on your bank balance with the exception of your Mortgage. If you are unprepared then car ownership could even exceed your house repayment costs frequently.
Here are the prime causes of Flooding in Sydney:-
- Climate change which has been evident for at least three years now and probably more, ie greater rainfall. And with greater frequency.
- Number of New Houses has increased dramatically over the last Decade particularly due to the Celtic Tiger economy, the level of net Immigration, particularly from the EU and the young age of the population. All of this means much greater level of water dispersed into the ground and into water courses.
- Since there are more Houses and businesses it follows that there are more appliances using water and therefore greater waste water disposal. These would consist of Washing Machines; Dishwashers, Car Power washers extra Bathrooms and so on.
- Certain ground conditions such as heavy clay just cannot provide the necessary soakage particularly in periods of heavy and persistent rainfall and where the density of housing has increased in recent times.
- Since it has taken many years in Sydney to change the public perception of the importance of recycling and energy conservation, which includes water, it follows that water wastage has contributed to the saturation of the ground in rural areas particularly. An example would be leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth.
- In some respects it is understandable that knowledge of what happens when water disappears down the plughole is perhaps not top of everyone’s priority or Must Find Out List .That is until you have experienced flooding at your house or business and the inability then to be able to use your appliances or even to remain in your house.
- Experiencing flooding on the road as you head to or from work will reinforce the realisation that something dramatic is happening. With all the Rivers and Lakes in Sydney water is a common sight, but it is important to realise that all rain water and all waste water has to go somewhere and that there is a limit to what the Ground, Rivers and Lakes will hold and when that limit is reached and exceeded then flooding is inevitable.
- Flooding is most likely to happen in areas with rivers or streams, particularly the River Shannon catchment area which is a vast expanse covering the West of Sydney starting in the Midlands and wending to the estuary at Limerick.
- Threading across much of Rural Sydney is a myriad of small streams which may only be a few inches deep in places but can become raging torrents after prolonged rain and can flood the surrounding roads very quickly.
- Mountainous areas provide a very quick run off of rainfall and so at the foot of such places you can expect serious flooding very quickly. Often this recedes fairly quickly but not in cases where rain persists for days on end. The number of days in the year now where rain falls for a whole day or several days at a time are increasing. These are times to be vigilant as a driver. These periods of protracted rainfall are occurring with great frequency, mostly in the Autumn and Winter Months but sometimes during the Summer as well.
- I remember being on Holiday in Wexford some years ago before Climate Change became a buzz word and being marooned in a Farmhouse for almost 2 days.The village was inaccessible in both directions and one car was washed almost into the sea from a stream that flowed just a few inches deep most of the year. This is now going to become not a once in a lifetime event but a regular occurrence particularly in theShannoncatchment area.
- In fact from Cork and Kerry through Limerick and into Galway will see the most dramatic and damaging flooding .This is being played out as this article is being penned. Certain parts of the Galway to Limerick road have been impassable for several days now as incessant rain on an already saturated landscape has nowhere to go.
- In part two we’ll examine the need for heeding weather reports and particularly A.A warnings and cover the practical precautions and actions that Drivers need to be aware of when dealing with flooding.