State and council chip in for Adelong flood management

Snowy Valleys Council has received $68,800 from the state government for the Adelong floodplain risk management study and plan.

They will also contribute $17,100 of council money over the next two years.

The floodplain risk management study and plan commenced after the once-in-a-100-year 2010 floods, that saw water rushing down Adelong’s main street causing extensive damage to homes and businesses. That was six years ago now – but Snowy Valleys Director of Compliance and Environmental Services Paul Mullins said that it’s vital people don’t get complacent.

“It’s a matter of when, not if, Adelong has its next major flood, and this is all about having appropriate planning in place to mitigate the effects of future flooding,” he said.

“From council’s perspective we regard it as a very important project. It’s human nature that people forget very quickly, so we might struggle to get some community interest in it at the moment, but when it happens again everyone will be saying ‘why wasn’t something done? Why didn’t we learn from past events?’”

The plan has three phases, one of which has already been completed. The first step was a technical report based on data collection undertaken in 2014.

The current lot of funding goes towards a risk management plan based on an analysis of that data.

“They’re not cheap, because we have to engage very specialised consultants,” Mr Mullins said.

“We’ll be calling for quotations from suitably qualified consultants to produce that management plan.”

“At least we’re making progress. There will be community consultation throughout this process, particularly if it contains recommendations that affect private individuals.”

The last step will be implementing the recommendations the plan comes up with.

Mr Mullins said he can’t pre-empt what the recommendations will be, but typical actions include the acquisition of buildings close to the river banks and controls on future developments in the area.

The Adelong flood plan is a priority for council because, unlike Tumut, many of its buildings lie close to the river banks. Mr Mullins said that as the Tumut River overflowing largely affects the sparsely populated floodplain, the benefits of developing a similar plan wouldn’t justify the costs.

“The costs of doing that for the entire Tumut Valley would be very expensive, but it’s still something to be considered in the future,” he said.

Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the grant program aimed to reduce the impacts of flooding and flood liability.

“This funding for councils is another way the NSW Government is able to support communities to prepare for extreme weather events well in advance of them occurring,” he said.