Other areas of Medowie have drainage problems, with local flooding after heavy rain, and PSC has worked to alleviate a number of these. The Campvale Drain has its own set of problems. Upstream of Ferodale Road, the water pays a quick visit. Downstream, it comes to stay -- for weeks and sometimes months.
The problems are increasing, with several dozen properties affected. More and more often in recent years, flood waters are not clearing from properties near the Drain. The Drain stops flowing too soon, and the pumps cannot operate to capacity. Days or weeks after it has stopped raining, residents are still wading through contaminated water to access their properties. Crops and pastures are lost and small businesses damaged. Afterwards, there is the contaminated mud, and then the dust. For these residents, it is a significant loss of amenity.
For various reasons, maintenance --- PSC’s responsibility -- has been neglected for at least ten years, so the Drain is silting up. The next flood promises to be worse.
Some of this rural land is low-lying, but that is not the main problem. The Drain is largely blocked at a narrow section known as the ‘pinch’. For years, residents, experts, and the Council have all agreed that the ‘pinch’ is causing the problem.
An expert survey, the Medowie Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan, was conducted by WMA over several years. Their modelling showed that removing the ‘pinch’ and associated works (one section actually slopes uphill) could increase water flow by five times in flood events without exceeding the capacity of the pumping station. More, it could eliminate periods of flooding longer than 30 days.
The Study and Plan were adopted by Port Stephens Council on 22 March 2016. More than three years later, nothing has happened about implementing the Plan for the Drain.