South Australian River Murray communities have cautiously welcomed the easing of river restrictions imposed by the state government almost two months ago during the peak of the flood event.
The river was divided into eight zones under the strict rules that prevented any recreational use, including motorised vessels, human-powered vessels and activities including swimming.
SA Police have now announced a relaxing of the rules, with most boats, swimmers and fishers allowed back on the water above the Wellington ferry crossing, but speed limits and safety restrictions remain in place.
Those below the Wellington ferry can operate a motorised vessel, including for fishing, but cannot use a human powered vessel, houseboat, or swim, bathe or dive in the river.
The change is a relief for upstream houseboat operators who were restricted further under the original ban, despite already being grounded by the unpredictable floodwaters.
Morgan houseboat operator Jodie Reynolds said she was still unable to access her home and office by road, which she operates multiple businesses from.
She said she while the change of rules was a positive step, she was concerned about increased river traffic and people running into debris in the water.
“There will be sandbars where there weren’t sandbars before, the layout of the land will be a lot different … even the [river] frontage, I’m not sure where I can moor the boats anymore," she said.
“I’m out there everyday, checking on the property and the boats ... there are still logs I keep hitting, you can't even see them in the water.
Ms Reynolds said she was hopeful people would be sensible and stick to the speed limits and rules.
"You just have to be aware and be sensible out there," she said.
Paringa houseboat operator Kim Seymour said while she was excited to re-open her family business after months of uncertainty, there was a lot of work still ahead.
“We will check out any moved sandbars and the state of the banks,” she said.
“We’re making sure they’re dry enough for people to actually enjoy their stay.”
Riverland canoe tour guide, Kym Werner was still allowed to operate throughout the flood event as a commercial operator, but found the strict rules impacted his business.
"I think the restrictions should have been never put in place," he said.
"The recommendation of keeping off the river and keeping away from the edges of the river was good, but [being able to] go out on the floodplains was just incredible.
"We had 45 people over three tours on Sunday around the caravan park in Loxton. People were just longing to get out onto the water."