Flood management in the Macleay Valley

Community life - 28 March 2017

Flood events can be challenging for Council and the community but it is the way that information is collected and distributed that can make all the difference.

Council has implemented risk management plans to ensure that the community and emergency services are well informed of water levels and movements throughout the catchment so they can prepare accordingly.  

To ensure that timely, accurate information is received, Council has refurbished the water gauges at Georges Creek, Bellbrook, Toorooka, Kempsey Traffic Bridge and Seven Oaks, and has installed a flood camera and water level monitoring station at Sherwood Bridge.

Images from the camera are uploaded to Council’s website to update residents on the progress and severity of flooding in that area and to enhance their preparedness. Council was the first in NSW to use this technology and was awarded a NSW Engineering Excellence Award in Safety.

Before, during and after a flood event, updates on the status of roads, bridges and river levels across the shire are regularly sent to local media and are posted to Council’s website and social media channels. SMS updates are also sent to a network of over 200 individual contacts. Council’s infrastructure team gather this information from the Bureau of Meteorology, the SES, flood gauges, and via a team of staff who are actively responding to community requests and monitoring water levels by driving to key locations.

Often spending long days and nights assessing and monitoring, Council crews are also there after the event to clear bridges and roads as well as to fix any reported damage.

Council recently considered the Kempsey CBD Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan which predicts, maps and discusses flooding in the main business district of Kempsey. This important document adds to Council’s current management plans, creating a greater understanding of flood behaviour for the future.

Turners Flat bridge clearingCouncil’s Infrastructure team cleared some vegetation and logs that had washed onto Turners Flat bridge after the flood and hosed away some debris to make it safer for vehicles to pass