When it comes to lakes and flooding, the locals love to talk the talk.
This talk flows like floodwater through The Entrance Channel on the Central Coast [and, just quietly, at Swansea Channel, too].
When the Tuggerah Lakes system on the Central Coast floods, all sorts of folk come out of the woodwork, floating their ideas.
These ideas usually revolve around dredging The Entrance Channel, building a breakwater at the channel, or building a second channel access at Lakes Beach.
The same arguments are trotted out by locals whenever the lake is in particularly bad shape, with build-up of stinky weed and sediment. Weathered old blokes are sometimes quoted in the press after a flood, fondly recalling the days when a second channel access had naturally formed.
It's always political. Local politicians jump on the channel-widening bandwagon, looking to shore-up votes.
But the council flood and coastal engineering experts tell the same story again and again. Widening the channel or building a second access won't do much to prevent floods or improve water quality. But they could cause erosion or environmental problems elsewhere, as has happened at Swansea Channel and Stockton.
With the flooding around the Tuggerah Lakes catchment over the past week, residents have again floated their plans for more dredging or a breakwater at The Entrance.
Now we've got social media, the voices are louder and angrier. The comments flow into Facebook feeds like water gushing through a channel in - well - flood.
To get a different perspective, we asked University of Newcastle Associate Professor Troy Gaston for his thoughts on the matter.
The estuarine researcher said most of the water in Tuggerah Lakes - more than 90 per cent - "comes from the catchment".
"Approximately 1 per cent of the lake volume moves through The Entrance Channel on each tide," Dr Gaston said.
"Making the channel larger is unlikely to have any effect on flood levels, given the amount of rainfall over the past week. Given that Tuggerah Lakes is a barrier estuary, water from the catchment moves out onto the floodplains and will recede over time into the ocean," he said.
However, this process was impacted by storm and tide conditions.
"The flooding has occurred during a spring tide (higher than normal tides) - this happens every two weeks. And we also had a king tide on Sunday morning. The higher than normal tides mean that water-flow out of Tuggerah Lakes is impeded by the height of the ocean. Furthermore, given the large waves occurring due to the storm, this has caused ocean water to move into the estuary and further restrict floodwaters receding."
Floodwaters began to recede on Wednesday night. Human emotion probably began to recede around the same time.
Ain't Love Grand
Valentine's Day marketers have been in great form. How about these doozies?
Event Cinemas will host a special 30th anniversary screening of Ghost. If you buy a "Gold Class" package, you can "snuggle up in a V-Max loveseat" and tuck into "cheeseburger sliders and a Tim Tam sundae".
"Nothing says romance like a cheeseburger slider," a Topics spy said.
Another company tried it on big time, claiming "plant-based milk" was good for your heart. And so, it's obviously perfect for Valentine's Day.
Oh, also, Valentine's Day "research" has revealed that Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are Australia's top "bondage hotspot".