Earthmoving equipment was deployed to manually open the Belongil Creek mouth on July 25 after Council say they tried unsuccessfully the previous day to scrape the sandbank back to the water level.
Phil Holloway, Director Infrastructure Services, said, ‘Water levels in the creek reached 1.25m, causing flooding and inundation in parts of the Belongil catchment. With more rain predicted over the weekend water levels were expected to get higher, prompting Council to open the sandbank that was blocking the creek mouth’.
Byron CBD at risk
Mr Holloway said as result, Byron Bay’s CBD ‘was particularly vulnerable’.
‘Belongil Creek is an ICOLL, an intermittently closed or open lake or lagoon, which opens to the ocean. When the sandbank closes the entrance to the creek, water levels build up and heighten the risk of flooding in the Belongil catchment.
‘The management of ICOLLs, like Belongil Creek, are complex because any opening to the ocean can cause a fish kill because the sudden rush, or drawdown of water, can quickly strip the water of oxygen’, Mr Holloway said.
For more information about ICOLLs, Managing-ICOLLs.