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Drought impedes flood recovery in Condamine catchment, southern Queensland

Lisa Herbert, Tuesday August 19, 2014 - 17:03 EST
Audience submitted image
Cyclone Oswald dumped torrential rain across much of Queensland, causing widespread flooding. - Audience submitted

Ongoing dry conditions are impeding the rehabilitation of farming land across Queensland, badly damaged by widespread flooding in the state last year.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald dumped torrential rain across much of Queensland in January 2013, flooding 140,000 hectares of land in the Condamine Catchment.

Stream banks were badly damaged, fencing washed away, debris strewn for kilometres and farm land stripped of critical top soil and nutrients.

The bill for damages to fisheries and agriculture on the Darling Downs and in south west Queensland has been put at $120 million, but just a fraction of that has been allocated by State Government to fix it, with the onus falling on landholders.

A government support program, administered by the Condamine Alliance, has provided technical advice and some financial support more than 300 affected land managers in Warwick, Cecil Plains, Dalby, Jandowae and Chinchilla.

Agricultural consultant and agronomist David Hall says the recovery is a long way from completion.

"It takes quite a while to remediate these conditions, especially since it wasn't just one flood; We had two floods in very close proximity to each other," he said.

"The soil ... was flat out just trying to get over the first one before it got belted again for the second time so it needs is time to rebuild.

Mr Hall says almost 16,000 hectares of land has been restored to full production, but the drought is slowing progress.

"If we don't have moisture in the soil, our plants don't grow as well,' he said.

"If our plants don't have good biology, we can't get everything breaking down.

"It just slows down the whole process by which we can increase the soil's health."

The Condamine Alliance says 70 kilometres of fencing and 119 kilometres of stream banks have been repaired in the Condamine.


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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