Residents blame SunWater for flooded homes

TROPICAL Cyclone Marcia may have been gentle on Gladstone, but 120km west, residents are furious their homes were flooded.

When the water level in the Callide Dam reached a predetermined level on Friday night, the gates automatically opened and the equivalent of 1.8 Olympic swimming pools of water flowed over the spillway every second.

Homes were flooded and residents evacuated in Biloela, and 25 Jambin residents had to be evacuated to Biloela by helicopter on Saturday morning.

>> Gladstone's outlyng areas not so lucky after cyclone

>> George the cat less anxious now cyclone has passed

>> Residents evacuated after pine tree crashes down

Amanda Hicks, a nurse at the Biloela Hospital, said her family had lost everything.

She said she was worried about where she would be able to properly house her husband, three children and a fourth child when it arrives in July.

AT 9.20pm on Friday, sitting in their Tognolini-Baldwin Rd home, the Hicks family saw an update on the Banana Shire Council Disaster Management Information Facebook page.

SEETHING TORRENT: Callide dam overflowing in February 2015.
SEETHING TORRENT: Callide dam overflowing in February 2015. Emma CLARKE

"URGENT: Tognolini-Baldwin Rd residents are to self-evacuate," the message said.

Mrs Hicks is furious and says SunWater, the company that operates the dam, mismanaged the situation.

"(SunWater) should have done a slow release the day before. That cyclone warning was out for at least 48 hours prior to cyclonic conditions hitting our town," she said.


She said the whole town was angry, and said she believed the company should have learnt from the floods in 2013.

"SunWater let this happen to our town," she said.

"I hold SunWater accountable and it's about time they took ownership."

In a media statement, SunWater confirmed they had followed the legislated emergency action plan.

"The gates released water in automatic mode as it was not possible to commence manual releases on account of the dangerous cyclonic conditions being experienced on site," the statement read.

"The rainfall event upstream of Callide Dam that occurred as part of Tropical Cyclone Marcia is unprecedented with preliminary hydrologic estimates identifying it as a one in 10,000 year event."

Biloela police Senior Sergeant Nick Paton said yesterday that many Jambin residents were still unable to return to their homes. 

Power and telecommunication lines were also not working with many residents uncontactable.

Banana Shire Mayor Ron Carige said after the 2013 floods, he had been guaranteed phone services wouldn't be lost again.

"From my point of view, this is totally and utterly disgusting that this is happening again," Cr Carige said.

"The biggest issue we have at the moment is communication."

Cr Carige said a Telstra tower at Thangool had had a flat battery, which needed charging with a generator.

"This is disgusting that this is happening in this day and age," he said.


Topics:  biloela cyclone marcia ron carige wildweather

He gave his teen lover 'a joint' before bed

MARIJUANA: Dad denies smoking marijuana in front of his kids.

Gladstone man warned over smoking a joint with his teen lover.

He 'appeared' to wet his pants before police arrived

James Bell outside Gladstone Courthouse.

MAN appeared to have urinated himself.

Hanson backlash has major parties working to regain support

HELP US: Pauline Hanson stopped in Gladstone after being invited by business owners struggling with the economic downturn.

Job insecurity is seen to be a driving factor for One Nation Party

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Coles to pay new owner of Tannum servo $320K

UP FOR GRABS: Expressions of interest in Tannum's new service station, which will house the new Coles Express, closed this month.

INVESTORS bid for new Tannum service station under construction.

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June