Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Risk Management Strategy

The NSW Government has announced the Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Risk Management Strategy to reduce the potential flood risk to life, the economy and social amenity in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.

The Strategy is a comprehensive long-term framework for the NSW Government, local councils, businesses and the community to manage the risk posed by regional floods in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. It was developed by the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Taskforce, independently chaired by Mark Bethwaite AM, involving 13 government agencies and numerous expert advisors.

It was supported by the Taskforce 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 Strategy is based on the best available evidence using flood, population, evacuation and climate modelling as well as cost-benefit analysis. It is an integrated mix of infrastructure and non-infrastructure actions which will be implemented in two phases, with the first focusing on those actions that can be implemented in the short term.

The implementation of the Strategy will be coordinated by the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Directorate, which will initially be based at Infrastructure NSW.

The NSW Government has committed around $58 million for actions to support Strategy implementation from 2016-17 to 2019-20.

Phase One

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 for the temporary storage of flood waters.

A further $28 million has been allocated for other Phase One actions to start to immediately improve response to flood risk in the Valley. Actions include:

  • establishing the Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Risk Management Directorate to coordinate the implementation of the Strategy actions across the key state organisations and local councils
  • developing and implementing a coordinated regional approach to flood risk land use, road and emergency planning
  • better information for the community about flood risk
  • improving evacuation road signage
  • developing an improved 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 evacuation road infrastructure upgrades to enable access to major evacuation routes.

The NSW Government will consider the final business case for raising the Warragamba Dam wall in 2019. Pending approval of the business case, and subject to environmental and planning approvals, it is expected to take three to four years to complete construction. The NSW Government will also consider the ongoing implementation, monitoring and improvement of the Strategy.

Further information

A Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Risk Management Strategy summary report will be released in 2017.

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