ANGRY Yenda residents have accused local authorities of using their town as a dam to save downstream townships during the March floods.
During the disaster, various authorities including Griffith City Council, Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) and the SES ran an emergency operations centre at council chambers to deal with situations as they unfolded.
One of the decisions they made was to force a breach of the main canal at Roach's Regulator near Leeton as a pre-emptive measure to protect 300 homes in the area.
Yenda resident and former MI channel operator John Curran said a similar decision should have been made to save Yenda from the inundation that destroyed 600 homes on March 5.
He pointed to the now-infamous East Mirrool Regulator (EMR), which many residents have argued would have relieved the pressure on the main canal if MI had unblocked it at the time of the floods.
The regulator was constructed after the 1931 floods hit Yenda but concrete and dirt were used to block it in the mid-1990s.
MI has refused to explain why the regulator was blocked or which alternative systems were put in place to cover its purpose.
"The way I look at it, we had a structure that wasn't used and that no one had any intention of using," Mr Curran said.
"The thing that concerns me is that MI wasn't anywhere to be seen at the time - I know one farmer rang them and said 'this bank is going to bust' and they didn't want anything to do with it.
"Their lack of presence and lack of response leaves a pretty sour taste for those of us that were affected."
Mr Curran said the Leeton breach had sent excess water into the Mirrool Creek and Yenda had acted as a dam in holding it back to prevent flooding of other towns in the firing line.
"I think they (the authorities) just shut their eyes and walked away," he said.
Yenda farmer Allan Favero, who owns the property beside the EMR, said the previous configuration of structures had been successful in mitigating flooding and should be replicated.
"I don't want to dwell on the past because we've been through enough trauma this year," Mr Favero said.
"Going forward, we need new structures in place at East Mirrool regulator, operated remotely in anticipation of the arrival of floodwaters.
"I think most citizens in Yenda would be happy with that."
MI declined to comment on its actions during the floods but SES regional controller James McTavish defended the control centre's decision-making.
"The situation at Roach's Regulator was entirely different to Yenda," Mr McTavish said.
"At Leeton we had reasonable modelling to tell us exactly what would happen when we breached the bank but at Yenda it was simply impossible to model the downstream effects.
"I can state with every confidence that, of all the decisions made, there was no reference made to saving any town at the expense of another."