Councils’s strategy to cope with floods

By Shepparton News

The majority of Greater Shepparton City councillors this week voted to adopt a report which is set to assist in predicting what would happen in a one-in-100 year flood event, how water would behave, and help to assess and inform building approvals.

The Shepparton Mooroopna Flood Mapping and Flood Intelligence Project Report, funded by the state and federal governments, offers an update on flood risk within the Shepparton, Mooroopna and Kialla areas of the city, and updates the flood intelligence and mapping tools from a previous report.

The council has also voted to prepare and exhibit a planning scheme amendment to include the findings and recommendations of the report into the planning scheme and also adopt a Municipal Flood Emergency Plan.

The planning scheme amendment would seek to give effect to the report.

Council’s Sustainable Development director Geraldine Christou said the report and plan offer clear guidance to Council and communities in respect to land development and flood resilience, adding they would ‘‘help minimise risk and damage to property’’.

‘‘The plans will ensure that arrangements are agreed to for the planning, preparedness and prevention, response and recovery from flood incidents within the Greater Shepparton municipal area,’’ she said.

The report develops and calibrates a detailed hydraulic model that can predict flood impacts across the complex floodplain, provides flood mapping for different scenarios and develops an online flood mapping portal.

At this week’s council meeting, Cr Dennis Patterson described the report as a ‘‘very important document’’ aimed at ‘‘getting flood levels in the region correct’’.

‘‘They’re continually changing with different infrastructure going in.

‘‘It’s about new technology developed ... that allows us to identify where the flood level is (at) for that elusive one-in-100-year flood, that we hope we never see.’’

‘‘We don’t need to be building dwellings in places that can be severely affected by flash floods.’’

Cr Chris Hazelman said there would be ‘‘continuous work’’ as technology improved and that the process would be further refined.

He said if expert predictions around climate change were correct and the likelihood of more severe weather events was to increase, ‘‘we’re going to have to be right on top of our game’’.

Cr Hazelman highlighted that three submissions had been received during a public exhibition process, and that the council’s endorsement marked the beginning of a new process for the report.

Following the meeting, Mayor Kim O’Keeffe agreed the report had been the subject of ‘‘very, very long-term conversations,’’ but remained ‘‘pleased we’re progressing’’.

‘‘This will mean flooding impacts are fully considered ... (as) part of an assessment of any applications ... on flood prone land,’’ she said.

Meanwhile the Municipal Flood Emergency Plan details arrangements for the planning, preparedness, prevention, response and recovery from flood incidents within Greater Shepparton.

The motion at this week’s meeting was carried, 5-2 with councillors Dinny Adem and Les Oroszvary voting against endorsing the study and the plan.