Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities - Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Risk Management Strategy
The NSW Government has launched Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities – Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy (the Flood Strategy) to reduce the potential flood risk to life, the economy and social amenity in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley (the Valley).
The Flood Strategy is a comprehensive long-term plan for the NSW Government, local councils, businesses and the community working together to manage the risk posed by regional floods in the Valley. It was developed by the independently chaired Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Management Taskforce, involving 13 government agencies and numerous expert advisors. The Taskforce was supported by a Stakeholder Reference Panel with membership including:
- Penrith City Council
- Hawkesbury City Council
- The Hills Shire Council
- Blacktown City Council
- Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils
- Insurance Council of Australia
- Floodplain Management Association of Australia
- Sydney Water.
The Flood Strategy is based on the best available flood, population, evacuation and climate data and modelling as well as cost-benefit analysis. It is an integrated mix of infrastructure and non-infrastructure actions that are being implemented in two phases.
In June 2016, the NSW Government committed around $58 million to implement Phase One (2016-2020). This phase is focused on activities to reduce the flood risk in the Valley where possible in the short term, while developing the business case and consulting with the community on raising the Warragamba Dam wall to reduce flood risk in the longer term. The first phase of the Flood Strategy is being overseen by a team within Infrastructure NSW.
In Phase One, over $30 million has been allocated to undertake detailed planning, environmental assessments and community consultation for raising the Warragamba Dam wall by around 14 metres to provide flood mitigation through the temporary storage and controlled release of flood waters.
Phase One also includes a range of other actions to start improving response to flood risk in the Valley. These include:
- developing and implementing a coordinated regional approach to flood risk land use, road and emergency planning
- providing better information for the community about flood risk, preparation and response
- improving evacuation road signage
- developing an improved flood forecasting model to better support evacuation planning and operations
- continuing improvements to flood emergency response and recovery arrangements
- completing business cases for the priority local road infrastructure upgrades to enable access to major evacuation routes.
At the end of Phase One, and subject to environmental and planning approvals involving public consultation, the NSW Government will consider the final business case for raising Warragamba Dam wall to provide flood mitigation.
At that time, the Government will also consider the ongoing implementation, monitoring and improvement of the Flood Strategy. The estimated preliminary cost of raising Warragamba Dam wall is about $690 million (2015 dollars). Construction is expected to take approximately four years to complete.
Staying safe in a flood
Information on how to prepare for a flood can be found on the NSW State Emergency Service website – www.ses.nsw.gov.au. For emergency help in floods and storms call 132 500. In life-threatening emergencies call 000 (triple zero).