Slow the Flow – Eugowra Workshop Day

Sisters Margaret Broadbent, Ann-Maree O’Beirne and Elizabeth Moloney with Sally Neaves and Sister Patricia Powell.



The Institute’s Slow the Flow – Eugowra project reached a milestone on 27 October 2023 as some 50 farmers, landholders and supporters gathered in the remote community of Reedy Creek, New South Wales.


The gathering was the first in a series of capacity building workshops designed to reduce speed and destruction of the Mandagery Creek and its tributaries in response to devastating floods experienced in the small community of Eugowra, NSW, in November 2022. Reedy Creek is a tributary of Mandagery Creek and has been identified as a key impact area for slowing the flow of Mandagery Creek.


Conducted by the expert team from the Mulloon Institute along with local agronomists, Local Land Services New South Wales, Landcare, Red Cross, CWA, the local parish and dioceses and others, the gathering enabled the community to understand creek flow patterns, the water cycle, the role of vegetation, multiple benefits of storing water in the landscape, and practical methods used to slow it down, reducing peak flows and the destructive velocity of floods. There were also site visits to learn how land care efforts and individual farmers have made a difference through planting and restoring vegetation some 20 years on.



The idea is to enable farmers and landholders in strategic areas to work together to restore the natural function of waterways to buffer the worst impacts of extreme flood events, enabling community members downstream enough time to safely escape during such an event. This effort has brought together local, state and federal agencies and elected officials along with many community groups focused on whole-system repair to cope with future disasters in their community.


In Laudato Deum, Pope Francis cites the effects of droughts, floods and melting glaciers and ice caps as examples of the signs of climate change, and that these impacts are being borne by the most vulnerable people. The farmers and landholders of Eugowra understand that they are facing unprecedented challenges and that life now and in the next 20+ years will be very different from how life was in the last 20. This means changing land management methods from what was acceptable in previous generations to what is needed to secure healthy ecosystems and safer communities now.


One young farmer, Phil, who is located at the top of Reedy Creek, said: “My grandfather took his axe and removed all of the trees along the creek thinking it was best. Now it’s my job to bring the trees back. We are at the top of the catchment…[slowing the flow] all starts with me.”


This project is being funded by grants from the Douglas Foundation (through the Mercy International Association).


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