A series of wet years in the 1950s culminated with a
major flood in 1956. This, combined with record high
local rainfall, left much of the landscape waterlogged
for months at a time. Waterlogging was particularly
severe in the Berriquin Irrigation District.
In other parts of the region the rain and flooding
resulted in rising water tables and some soil
salinisation. These problems largely disappeared over
the next few years but waterlogging continued to be a
problem in Berriquin.
The Murray Irrigation Districts had been developed
with no drainage at all, although the region is among
some of the flattest land in the world. The effects of
the flood and high rainfall indicated that drainage
would be an ongoing issue.
Following the 1956 flood the WC&IC developed a
plan for surface drainage for most of the Berriquin
district. However it was rejected by landholders,
largely on the basis of cost.
Despite this, the WC&IC initiated the Box Creek
stormwater escape system, providing the regionís first
formal drainage network. Several other government
and private stormwater systems were built during the
In 1974 another major flood swept across the landscape
and Berriquin landholders began to see rising
water tables, in addition to surface waterlogging.
The Bucyrus dragline excavators which built the Mulwala Canal
also built the Box Creek stormwater escape system during the
Three natural flood runners ~ the Box Creek, Union Creek and
Baratta Creek ~ were connected together to more effectively
drain stormwater and provide a safety valve for flows in the
Box Creek originated on the northern side of the Mulwala Canal
at Blighty. In 1992 the Box Creek Drainage Channel was built,
draining land on the southern side of the Mulwala Canal
between Finley and Blighty.
This drainage channel goes under the Mulwala Canal to connect
to the Box Creek at Blighty. The total length of the Box
Creek system ~ drainage channel and creeks ~ is 130kms. Photo: MIL