We have hardly had any rain at all this year down here in Canterbury. And until about two weeks ago the average maximum temperature was still at about 20 celsius, which was jolly fine for late autumn.
Today we got the rain, its mum, dad and all the rellies. My street has a surface flooding problem. I have been told that we do not have stormwater drains, that the grills in the road just go straight into the river gravels. Whether or not that is true (it seems a bit neanderthal) (one of my readers might know), when it rains heavily a large pool of water forms at the bottom of my driveway, and in other places along the street. Garth, my late husband, poetically called it Lake Dickson, after the name of the street.
Tonight Lake Dickson lives up to its name. It never gets worse, never encroaches, but sits there until it gets the opportunity to gently drain away. Once it stops raining, it goes quite quickly. No, I will not go and take a picture of it for this blog. It is wet. Are you mad?
My suburb is built on the Waimakariri flood plain. It is at a relatively high point on the plains. Much of Christchurch is only about 5 metres about seal level, whereas we are about 30 metres above that. This is one of the reasons my area was not so badly hit in the first (2010) earthquake, even though it was very large and just down the road. Good land, relatively high.
They always say about Christchurch city that it was essentially built on a bowl of jelly, which was one cause of the damage to buildings in the 2011 quake (lesson – don’t build tall buildings on wobbly land). We escape all that out West.
Quite a lot of the city, and much of the region, is tonight in flood. Floods are nasty, stinky things, I think worse than earthquakes unless a building happens to collapse on you. Because Christchurch is so low, much of the city is prone to inundation (that’s a great word) and this is only going to get worse with global warming.
But tonight, as I sit writing this blog, there is a miracle. I am warm, and dry, have a new but harmless and temporary lake in my street, the power is on and all is safe and well here. Best wishes to those not having the same luck.
POSTSCRIPT: I wrote an account a couple of weeks ago of a hearing for an application to open a new liquor store around the corner. We heard last week that the application has been declined. The applicant has the right to appeal, but was well and truly beaten and may not do so.
Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society. She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.