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Council wants a deluge of ideas to help with floodplain management

Lottie Twyford9 August 2021
Warning sign at flooded street in Bega

Bega Valley Shire Council wants your say on how the Bega River and Brogo River floodplains are managed. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

Following extreme wet weather events experienced across much of NSW in the past 18 months, including in the Bega Valley, the local council in the South Coast shire is now asking the community to have their say on the new floodplain management plan.

Bega Valley Shire Council has devised 10 options for improving the existing flood warning system as part of the Bega and Brogo Rivers Floodplain Risk Management Plan, and it’s now opening these up for review and feedback.

Council’s acting works and assets manager Gary Louie explained all of the options are now contained in a Preferred Mitigation Options report which is on exhibition until Sunday, 22 August.

He said community engagement occurred in late 2020 with the communities of Bemboka, Wolumla, Candelo, Bega, Tarraganda, Kalaru, Tathra, Mogareeka and surrounding areas when residents were asked for input on the design of a proposed flood warning system.

“Residents had the opportunity to review available and emerging flood warning technology and processes as part of this exercise,” said Mr Louie.

“Local agencies, including SES [NSW State Emergency Service] and industry groups such as farmers, were included in the engagement process.”


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Mr Louie also explained that the potential enhancement of the flood warning system will have an impact on communities beyond the Bega township to ensure they are all prepared for responding to future floods.

Currently, the scoping and feasibility study is underway to see how enhancements could take place.

“We’re seeking community feedback to help us finalise the options and begin the design of the warning system,” said Mr Louie.

Each of the options available for public review have been rated using a traffic light system.

The red options have been assessed by water engineers, Cardno, and have subsequently been classified as not recommended for further investigation.

Those presented as green have been recommended, while the orange options are yet to be confirmed for further investigation or not.

According to Mr Louie, community feedback on the orange options will be used to determine a final list of the most feasible and useful options, as well as whether it’s feasible to extend the flood warning to other parts of the catchment.


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“Total Flood Warning Systems can include a number of components that must be integrated for the system to operate effectively,” he said. “These include stream and rain gauges, emergency dashboards and public communications.

“Our aim is to develop a fit-for-purpose, location-based and efficient flood warning system tailored to the different needs of each community in the study area.”

The project follows on from the 2018 Bega and Brogo Rivers Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan which recommended investigating a flood warning system for the Bega River and Brogo River study area.

The community consultation for the preferred mitigations stage of the project includes an online survey which is open until Sunday, 22 August, 2021, through council’s Have Your Say webpage.

An online information session will be run on Monday, 16 August, 2021. Register by emailing [email protected].

Two COVID-19-safe drop-in sessions are also set to go ahead, with the first today, 9 August, and the second session on Tuesday, 10 August. For more information and to register, click here.

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