Moira Shire’s ongoing recovery from the floods last March will serve as a blueprint for future emergency response.By Jessica Grimble
Moira Shire’s ongoing recovery from the floods last March will serve as a blueprint for future emergency response.
A presentation to a national engineers’ conference will share the knowledge gained and challenges of the project which started as floodwaters or significant rain impacted 75 per cent of the municipality at this time last year.
Flood recovery manager David Booth said the efforts had attracted the attention of local government and water authorities.
‘‘It has been heralded that it will remain a model for other events,’’ Mr Booth said.
‘‘For me, this is an opportunity to profile Moira Shire, which otherwise sits in northern Victoria very quietly.’’
Mr Booth heads a fl ood recovery office, based in Numurkah, which is leading the recovery and repair of damage worth $40 million.
This figure includes damage to roads, bridges, culverts and drains worth about $35
Those costs could rise should assets require more works than first assessed.
Support from the Federal Government, through the Victorian Government, has come with its National Disaster Funding Arrangement.
Upfront cash has helped start the recovery process, of which about 70 per cent is yet to be completed.
Mr Booth said the project was difficult without advance funds — especially considering the repair bill was two-thirds of the council’s annual budget of $60
He said residents with insurance which included flood damage were covered — and others gained assistance through restoration grants from the government.
Mr Booth said the scale of the road repairs could not be understated.
‘‘This is the equivalent of 15 to 20 years of road resheeting — that will be of benefit to everyone. It’s not all doom and gloom,’’ he said.
Mr Booth said the most notable aspect of the event was the community spirit shown.
‘‘Four-wheel drive volunteers came in for six months and CFA strike teams from outside the region came in to help our urban residents and also helped farmers with jobs such as pulling debris off fences,’’ he said.
Mr Booth said Numurkah was significantly impacted because it sits at the junction of the Muckatah and Broken Boosey creek systems. He said Nathalia had time to prepare and already had a flood plan and levee system in place.
But he said there were concerns the levee wouldn’t hold the volume of water travelling its way.
‘‘Four sections of the levee were showing signs of deterioration and there was uncertainty about the levee which was made of dirt,’’ he said.
‘‘It had not been tested under flood conditions.’’
The experiences of people and emergency service personnel will guide a new flood study for Numurkah, which should be finished by the end of the year.
‘‘We have lots of good information and the flood, in a strange way, provided the perfect information,’’ Mr Booth said.
A review of the municipal emergency management plan, and within it a flood emergency plan, is continuing.
‘‘We thought the emergency management plan was the best we could have at the time, yet we can review and improve plenty of areas because of our experiences,’’ he said.
Mr Booth said as time went on, the flood recovery office and contractors would be scaled back and staff would return to their roles from before the floods.
He said people had shown patience and understanding in the scale of the recovery.
A DVD of images and stories from the floods is being fi nalised and will be available within about six weeks.
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