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Mitchell Shire Council continues flood gauge consultations

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Mitchell Shire Council will continue its work on flood gauges in Seymour, with councillors voting to request an additional report highlighting options to improve the network, information about flood risk and real-time data in the lead up to and during floods.

A report was presented at last Monday’s council meeting in response to a notice of motion submitted in February.

The report discussed the Bureau of Meteorology, BoM, river height level monitoring system collecting data on waterways in catchments flowing into the Seymour area.

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On October 13, 2022, Seymour experienced extensive flooding with the Goulburn River peaking at 8.26 metres, causing the flooding of about 250 homes and businesses.

The Regional Water Monitoring Partnership received $600,000 in grant funding to undertake flood repair works on the flood gauge network following the October 2022 floods.

Cr Fiona Stevens said the grant was ‘really important’.

“Obviously there’s a question to how well they worked beforehand and certainly how they worked after the significant flood impact,” she said.

“I’m hoping when the report comes back to us, we’ll very clearly have some indication as to how that money was spent and how the gauges are functioning after the spend.”

There are 19 flood gauges on tributaries between Lake Eildon and Seymour forming an element of the ‘monitoring and prediction’ component of the Total Flood Warning System.

Flood gauges are located in areas including Goulburn River at Seymour, Sunday Creek at Tallarook and Whiteheads Creek and Whiteheads Creek.

Currently the flood gauge network collects data assisting council and the community to prepare for and respond to flooding.

It is currently unknown what improvements may be available to increase the network’s capacity to produce forecasting and real time data.

Cr Bill Chisholm said the data provided during the Seymour floods was insufficient.

“I think the flood gauge issue really highlights that Seymour wasn’t aware of the expected flood height and the more data we can have on the issue, the better ability to plan a response in a timely manner we have,” he said.

“Compared to the response in Shepparton, their data was really well received.

“They had all the flood mapping in place and the flood levels went to what they expected so if we have the right data in the first place and know what to expect, we can definitely mitigate any effects from a flood in the future. We’ve got to keep learning as we go.”

A further report will be provided to council highlighting options to improve the flood gauge network and responses leading up to and during floods.

Council contributes about $20,000 to the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action and Regional Water Monitoring Partnership annually.

Council also has its own self-managed flood gauge on Whiteheads Creek at Delatite Road, Seymour – monitoring and servicing at the site costs about $2000 annually.

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