HUNDREDS of hectares of valuable farming land is under water near Allansford because of a choked major drainage channel leading to the Hopkins River.
Farmers say it’s the worst flooding in memory and will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost pasture.
The nearby motocross racing circuit is also flooded and is likely to remain closed for at least six weeks, putting a scheduled major racing event in doubt.
Landowners have called for the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority to urgently clean hedges, trees and rubbish from the channel, which is part of the Nullawarre district drainage system constructed in the early 1900s to divert run-off water into Lake Gillear and then to the Hopkins River.
Some have pondered clearing sections themselves, but fear being penalised for unauthorised action in a protected waterway.
Yesterday paddocks looked more like wildlife lakes with flocks of birds enjoying the watery landscape where cattle usually graze.
The entrance lane to the home of Ben and Melissa Holloway and their three children is more than a metre under water, forcing them to go through paddocks on higher ground.
“Twenty years ago flooding would get away in a week, but now it could take up to eight weeks to clear,” Mr Holloway said.
His parents Ann and Mick, who started the family dairy farm in 1981, said the flooding was the worst they could recall.
“We’ve never had so much farmland under water,” Mick said. “There would be 10 farms affected by this.”
Neighbour Kevin Matthews also said it was the worst he had seen.
“Half of our property is flooded and we’ve had to take all our cattle off the flats,” he said.
“All the water from the Nullawarre and Mepunga district comes in here — it’s like a big dam.”
Mr Matthews said he had raised the issue with the catchment management authority several times, but had been told there was no funding for clearing the channel.
Warrnambool Motorcycle Club spokesman Roger Laycock said a third of the circuit near Lake Gillear was under water.
“We decided to close it two weeks ago and we may not be able to get back on it for another six weeks,” he said.
“I have serious doubts if we will be able to host the western region motocross round in October.
“We raised the track level to above last year’s flood height, but the level has gone further.
“The whole channel needs cleaning out. It’s chocked up with rubbish, including old water tanks.”
About 60 hectares of the Holloway farm that was planted in autumn for a silage harvest is ruined.
The family estimates it will cost at least $100,000 to replant and for lost seed and preparation.