In 2017 Bega Valley Shire Council completed a Flood Study for Merimbula Lake and Back Lake. The study identified potential flood risks to people, property, infrastructure and assets. Council is now undertaking a Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan to look at various options to reduce the risks and damages caused by flooding.
The study includes the foreshore and low-lying areas near Merimbula Lake and Back Lake as well as the catchments draining to the lakes. Flooding in these areas can be caused by ocean storms, extreme tides and intense rainfall.
Historical flooding was identified by the community as part of the Flood Study, this included flooding observed in Merimbula CBD in September 2014, at Berrambool Oval in December 2014 and local creek flooding at Millingandi in February 2010. The foreshore areas of Merimbula Lake were also moderately impacted by the East Coast Low in 2016.
The preparation and implementation of Floodplain Risk Management Plans is the cornerstone of the NSW Government’s Floodplain Management Program that is delivered in accordance with the 2005 NSW Government Floodplain Development Manual. Management plans can eliminate the ad-hoc decision-making process which has contributed to many present day flooding problems.
As part of this study, Council will work collaboratively with the State Government, consultants and the community to assess options for managing flood risk such as protection works, improved infrastructure, revised emergency response procedures and planning controls. The Floodplain Risk Management Plan will recommend the most appropriate measures for implementation.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is supporting Council by providing technical assistance and grant funding for the project.
Council was successful in securing a grant through the Office of Environment and Heritage Floodplain Management grant program during late 2017. The grant program provides funding at a ratio of two state dollars per Council dollar. Under the terms of the grant funding agreement Council is required to provide a matching contribution of one-third the total project cost.
Council at its meeting of 31 January 2018 resolved to accept the grant offer.
The Merimbula and Back Lake Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan is an identified project in the 2017 – 2021 Delivery Plan to Identify and Complete Floodplain Risk Management projects.
The project addresses Outcome 5 Connected Communities Goal 10: We have a network of good quality roads, footpaths and cycleways connecting communities throughout the Shire and beyond from the Bega Valley Shire Community Strategic Plan 2040 – Working Towards our Future
The community provided valuable input to the Flood Study through surveys (May 2015) and drop-in sessions (September 2016). This information was used to ensure the flood study models produced results that were consistent with community observations.
Council is engaging with the community again to look at ways to manage the flooding problems identified in the Flood Study.
The community was invited to provide Council with information on flooding issues they were aware of during drop-in information sessions held in late 2018 at the Bega Valley Regional Learning Centre. Suggestions were provided on how members of the community would like to see these problems addressed.
Information about the project was sent out to residents and property owners within the study area at the time. The same information was also published on Council’s website where an online survey was available.
The current public exhibition of the draft findings is the final opportunity for community input and feedback prior to finalisation. Visit our Have Your Say page to get involved. The Have Your Say closes on Sunday 29 November 2020 at 11:45pm.