South Australians warned of failing dam flood threat

CANBERRA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — Residents of a small town in the Australian state of South Australia (SA) have been warned of a flooding threat from a failing dam.

The State Emergency Service (SES) on Wednesday morning issued an emergency warning that a dam on farming land close to the township of Echunga is at risk of collapsing.

Local residents of Echunga have been urged to prepare for flooding and to relocate to the Echunga Football Club if possible.

Some roads into the town about 34 kilometers southeast of Adelaide, capital city of SA, have been closed as SES members continue to work to prevent a collapse.

David O’Shannessy, SES State Duty Officer, said the dam, located less than 500 meters upstream from the town of Echunga, holds about 10 megalitres of water.

“We are doing everything we can to mitigate that risk,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), adding that they are doing controlled releases of water and have got engineers and other experts involved.

“If you are in the area you just need to follow any emergency plan you might have, prepare your home for flooding, but really we’re just asking people to move out of the area,” he said. “We don’t think it’s inevitable that this will happen but we just want people to be prepared that if it were to happen they’re just not in the area.”

It comes after a winter with higher than average rainfall that has left catchment areas, including dams, full.

The SES has warned people not to walk or drive through floodwaters.

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