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Federal flood funding boost for local councils

THE Derwent Valley’s two local councils will share in more than $1m of federal funding to build flood resilience in the region. The Central Highlands and Derwent Valley councils have been awarded federal grant funding under the National Recovery & Resilience Agency’s “Preparing Australian Communities” program.

In a partnership with the Derwent Catchment Project, the Derwent Valley Council will receive $906,090 to be used for building flood resilience over the next four years. Derwent Valley Council mayor Michelle Dracoulis said work would be undertaken by the Derwent Catchment Project on the council’s behalf. It will focus on implementing an existing flood resilience plan for the Lachlan River, undertaking further flood modelling and working with the community to increase preparedness for flood events.

“The Derwent Catchment Project has been making some great progress, working with local landowners to mitigate flood risk across the valley through willow control and removal, and riverbank stabilisation works to combat erosion,” Cr Dracoulis said. “This funding will help to continue those works, as well as helping educate local landowners on what they can do to build resilience and future-proof against weather events like the ones we experienced recently,” she said.

Derwent Catchment Project facilitator Josie Kelman said understanding the way river systems behave in flooding events and community education around river management were keys to preparing for increased occurrence of these events. “The climate is changing, and as we see an increase in severe weather events as we have over the last
few years, continuing to work on flood modelling will help us to predict and prepare the region the best we
can,” Dr Kelman said.

“We’ll also be focusing on increasing community knowledge about what they can do to help prepare for flood events, and will continue to work with local landowners and volunteers on restoring and increasing river health,” she said. A series of surveys and community workshops are currently in planning and the Lachlan community will
be engaged directly to participate.

Central Highlands Council mayor Loueen Triffitt welcomed the awarding of $247,360 for River Clyde flood mapping and study. “The flood map for the township of Bothwell was developed over 50 years ago,” Cr Triffitt said. “The town and surrounding district have experienced several large flood events since that time, resulting in major infrastructure damage, property loss, destruction of crops, loss of livestock, health conditions owing to waterborne diseases and ramifications for the social fabric of the community,” she said.

“The project will help council to gain a better understanding of flood behaviour, establish the flooding extent, likely water levels, velocities and depths within the study area. This information will inform a revised floodplain management strategy to improve the community’s understanding of flood risk and hazard of the River Clyde floodplain and inform emergency response planning and mitigation measures,” Cr Triffitt said.

Cr Triffitt acknowledged the work of consultants GHD, Cr Anthony Archer and deputy general manager Adam Wilson for their work on the grant application. The two councils were congratulated on their successful applications by the federal Member for Lyons, Brian Mitchell MHR. “This funding will help to prepare for and prevent future flooding”, Mr Mitchell said. “By improving resilience, we can help preserve our river landscapes while also protecting property and livestock,” he said.

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