Uncontrolled Release

Down the hatch...
Image by slgwv via Flickr

There is no doubt that Wivenhoe dam saved Brisbane from worse flooding. But it only covers about a third of the total catchment for the Brisbane River, so Brisbane still flooded.

I heard a hydrologist speaking about the way in which the dam operates….. it is designed so that hydrologists can operate and control the release of water in such a way to both minimise flooding downstream while preserving the integrity of the dam wall.

If the inflow of water became so great that the structural integrity of the dam was compromised, the dam is designed to regulate itself and perform what’s called an uncontrolled release.

This is not the scenario that we ever want to see because the dam can’t tell what the tidal river is doing and will dump enough water to preserve itself with little regard to the river conditions.  Specifically, the flood which has coincided with some of the biggest tides we’ll see all year which needs carefully planned controlled releases of water to minimise damage downstream.

….and all of this made me think about  grief…

I find I have to regulate the times during which I allow myself to wallow in  complete despair, cry out in pain as the hot, angry tears course down my face.  I have to swear and scream and tell God exactly what I think of him.  I have to feel sorry for myself and rant and rage about how utterly fucked up my life is.

Because when *I* regulate the spillway of grief, I get to do it  when nobody can hear me scream.

The last thing I want is an uncontrolled release at school, or near the kids, with friends or while driving the car.

…and it fucking sucks when it hits as I lay in our bed and see the empty space and that voice in my head keeps saying don’t go there, don’t think about the “multiple injuries”. dont’ do it now, you need to sleep, find a happy place, find a happy place, find a happy place….

Except all of my happy places have Greg in them.  They are happy places BECAUSE he is there.

So I need to find another way of controlling the release.  Of controlling the uncontrolled release.

Of controlling the other two-thirds of the catchment not covered by the dam on my grief.

and that is a bloody hard thing to do.

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Just reporting in to let people know not to worry about me….. I live in a high and dry area.


The water problems I’ve had at my home are caused by groundwater flowing down into the house, which could never become intense flash flooding because we simply do not have a great amount of hill above us. Rather, the water is slow and is persistently seeping into my garage.

But my city …. oh my poor city.

…and my State!  Two-thirds of my State is flood affected. and it’s a BIG State of 1,852,642 km2 (that’s 715,309 sq miles).

We watched in awe as mother nature unleashed her cycle of flooding rains onto our dry and parched land.

Farmers I know (well – our family actually, maybe not everyone) were actually cheering a little despite the water, as our farm house is high and dry but we have water in the dams and will soon have feed in the pastures.

But the stories coming out of Toowoomba and Grantham are truly horrific.  These are the towns who have brought us to our knees as we watched flash floods toss cars like toys and rip houses from their stumps.

So many houses have been inundated with smelly, muddy flood waters.  So many people have lost everything they have.

…and at least  twelve people have lost their lives.

I believe that one of those 12 is an old school friend of mine ….. I’m hoping this is not the case, but I fear the worst.

So I thank fellow bloggers and friends who’ve contacted me to check on me – I am fine, but feel less alone through your kindness.

But other’s here are not so lucky … and I am breaking my rule of not flogging anything on my blog by posting this …. but if you have  a few spare dollars, there are folks here who could really use them: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

Thank you.