Four months after the tiny town of Elleker experienced floodwater levels not seen in 30 years, residents say they are still waiting on a long-term plan from the Water Corporation to prevent their homes and livelihoods from suffering the same fate next winter. A wild storm swept across Albany and Denmark with little warning on June 20-21, with rainfall reaching up to 150mm in isolated areas and winds of more than 100km/h. In Elleker, homes and farms were inundated for more than a week with residents facing a costly clean-up and some homes only accessible by dinghy. The community cited the washout of a man-made “plug” known as the Marbelup Brook levee as the trigger for the flooding. At a community meeting in Elleker in June, Water Corporation Great Southern regional manager Adrian Stewart admitted they “didn’t have a plan” to deal with the failure of the levee. Many Elleker residents were frustrated that the design of the plug hadn’t been improved since it was last washed away in 1991. After a follow-up community meeting earlier this month, Elleker farmer Phil Harding said the community were still waiting on a plan from the Water Corporation on what could be done to improve the drainage system and strengthen the levee. “Even though our livelihoods and the residents here, their homes are dependent on it, the Water Corp don’t seem to want to keep us informed as to what is going on which is a bit frustrating,” he said. Mr Harding is calling for an independent report into the cause of the flooding and possible solutions. “Why was it allowed to happen and how can it be prevented from happening again?,” he said. “Those two questions need to be answered by independent sources and there needs to be an accountability process. The construction takes time, the process takes time, but I believe the urgency is in getting started.” Mr Harding said the Albany drainage district system that connects the Torbay Catchment to Princess Royal Harbour had not been reviewed or improved since it was built in the 1940s to increase horticultural productivity. A rise in families taking up lifestyle properties in Elleker meant the drainage system needed to be revised, he said. “Water Corporation is responsible for the drainage ... and part of their licence is to make sure that this drainage system is functioning properly,” he said. “But they haven’t been cleaning up the main drain which is right at the bottom of the catchment where all the water goes into the inlet. “It is silted up at the bottom, it has fallen trees all through it and it is in absolute desperate need of some cleaning up to allow the volume of water through.” Speaking to the Advertiser this week, Mr Stewart said repairs to the Marbelup plug and the North Creek bund were complete. “We are assessing options to further reinforce these structures,” he said. “While this may help manage water flows during and after extreme storm events, it cannot guarantee against the impacts of rapid and extreme floodwaters on low-lying land.” Mr Stewart said the June storm was a “rare and extreme weather event which caused widespread damage to infrastructure”. “We are continuing to engage with the community and are working with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, City of Albany and other agencies to assess improvements to drainage infrastructure in the area,” he said. “Drainage networks cannot guarantee against the impacts of rapid and extreme floodwaters on low-lying land; however, we’re committed to reviewing ways the system might be improved.” Mr Stewart said Water Corporation had a maintenance program which was up to date before the storm rocked the region. “After the storm, some debris was left behind,” he said. “We are working to prioritise areas of concern, especially those flagged by the community, and will undertake any maintenance required.” Albany mayor Dennis Wellington said the City and Department of Communities were supporting the Elleker community through welfare drop-in sessions and assistance in applying to the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements WA. “The majority of infrastructure service requests have been dealt with by the City with the exception of Lower Denmark Road, which is scheduled for further repairs when the weather permits,” he said. He said the City was in talks with Water Corporation and the State Government about the level of maintenance on waterways in Elleker. In the aftermath of the storm, Mr Wellington vowed to lobby the State and Federal Governments on behalf of residents who voiced concerns about a lack of emergency communication. “The City has had several meetings with Telstra regarding telephone service in the Elleker area and will continue to advocate for Elleker to be considered for telecommunication upgrades,” Mr Wellington said.