Funding boost to prepare for floods

THE Derwent Valley’s ability to avoid or recover from flooding has been given a $900,000 funding injection. The Derwent Valley Council and the Derwent Catchment Project announced the funding from the Commonwealth last week.

The grant will be provided from the National Recovery and Resilience Agency – Preparing Australian Communities program and will provide funding over the next four years. The program of work will be undertaken by Derwent Catchment Project on Council’s behalf and 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.

Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis said the funding was a big win for Council and the local community which relies heavily on works done by the Derwent Catchment Project in the region. “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,’’ Mrs Dracoulis said.

“Thanks to the Commonwealth Government, this funding will help to continue those works, as well as helping educate local landowners on what they can do to build resilience and futureproof against weather events like the ones we experienced recently.”

Derwent Catchment Project Facilitator Dr Josie Kelman said understanding the way river systems behave in flooding events and community education around river management are key 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.”

A series of surveys and community workshops are currently in planning and the Lachlan community will be engaged directly to participate.