FORMER NSW MP and Central Coast politician Bob Graham won an election in 1988 by campaigning on the state of the Tuggerah Lakes system.
It was a lakes system in crisis back then, with homes at risk of flooding during storm events and king tides, and a channel opening to the sea at The Entrance that struggled when it was needed most.
Mr Graham watched as reports on how to "save" the lakes system came and went. Work was done, using council, state and federal millions. A dredge shifted sand that slowed the movement of floodwaters to the sea. A weed harvester removed the floating weed debris that caused algal blooms.
There were sluice gates and sediment infrastructure installed. A rock groyne was recently built near the channel opening at The Entrance. It all failed on the weekend and this week, when the Central Coast copped a beating as the drought broke in this most extraordinary of summers.
Tens of thousands of people have been affected. Homes and business have been flooded. People have been evacuated. Major roads have remained closed for days because of downed trees and power lines, or flood water that has not retreated, but has increased days after the last rain has fallen.
There is no doubt the amount of rain that fell over 72 hours from Friday to Sunday was extraordinary, and the location of the heaviest downfalls - a considerable distance from the coast - meant that runoff continued to flow strongly into the swollen lakes.
But there is also no doubt that years of actions, inaction and neglect of the Tuggerah Lakes exacerbated the flood event of the past few days, and residents both know that and are furious about it.
The weekend rain, and the ferocity of it, was predicted and expected. Yet no one in a position of authority acted to ensure systems designed to mitigate flooding in lower-lying areas were in good working order.
Residents took to the sand dunes between the lake and the ocean at The Entrance on Sunday, because they had no confidence that systems had been maintained.
The Tuggerah Lakes has been a political football for decades, and the community that paid the price this week is understandably angry. Already some are talking about a class action. Others fear how insurance companies will respond, where homes have flooded because of the rising lake. The only hope is that finally, after this disaster, there will be action.