Melbourne’s preparations for future flooding
New research released recently that investigates the best way to respond to future flooding situations will help the City of Melbourne and its residents be better informed and prepared for the challenges ahead.
The Coastal Adaptation Pathway Project, coordinated by the Municipal Association of Victoria, the Association of Bayside Municipalities and the Central Coastal Board, has developed a framework to help local governments manage the risks of inundation from rainfall and rising sea levels.
Environment portfolio chair, Councillor Arron Wood states that five case studies from the Port Phillip Bay area were produced as part of the research, two of which are within the City of Melbourne’s municipality – Southbank and Arden-Macaulay.
“We have always known that that these two low-lying areas in our municipality are prone to flooding in extreme weather conditions. This research will help us better understand the ‘what ifs’ around inundation, and prepare as a community for these types of situations,” Councillor Wood notes.
“Adapting to climate change is a high priority on our agenda. Sea level rise is a long term challenge for Melbourne, and understanding the risks is the first step in preparing for the future. All levels of government and the community need to work together to minimise the impact when events occur.”
These case studies involve modelling that predicts future inundation levels and investigate what can be done to reduce the risks. Each case study projected that inundation risks will increase due to rising sea levels and more intense rainfall.
According to Councillor Wood, the City of Melbourne was already taking steps to improve the resilience of the city. “The capacity of our drainage system plays a major role in our city’s ability to cope with floods. Three years ago we undertook a study of our known flood risk sites, and in the last two years we have invested $5.3 million in our drainage system to minimise the risk of future flood in these areas.
“Capturing, storing and reusing stormwater also helps to mitigate flood risk. In the last two years we have invested almost $11 million into stormwater harvesting to help the environment cope with high rainfall periods.”
Other measures taken by the City of Melbourne include planning overlays that identify areas that are known to flood, removal of tree debris that may block drains and providing the community with resources to prepare for flood risk.