The heavy rain falls and subsequent flooding which affected parts of Victoria earlier this year highlighted the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.
Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the annual State Emergency Services FloodSafe Week, Monday 30 May to Friday 5 June, encouraged people to get involved and learn more about protecting themselves, their homes and their businesses during floods.
“Floods cause more damage in terms of dollars and lives lost, per year, than any other natural hazard in Australia,” Cr Makin said.
“The rain fall which hit Victoria in late 2010 and February 2011, and the flooding which occurred as a result, is a prime example of the importance of ensuring your property is able to cope should we be faced with this level of rain fall again,” Cr Makin said.
“Research that was conducted following the September 2010 floods in Victoria shows that 31 per cent of people living in the affected areas did not know their homes were prone to flooding and 35 per cent said they had not prepared for floods at all,” Cr Makin said.
“However a well prepared community can reduce flood damage by up to 80 per cent, which is why Council is supporting the SES FloodSafe Week and urging residents to take appropriate steps to ensure their property is in the best condition possible to prevent, or at least minimise, the impacts of flooding,” Cr Makin said.
“Council is also doing its bit to ensure that the Municipality’s storm water drainage network is able to cope if the storms continue to worsen,” Cr Makin said.
“In the event of a flood Council’s operations team will conduct initial investigations to determine whether there is a blockage or other issues associated with Council’s stormwater pipes which may have contributed to localised flooding,” Cr Makin said.
“If no issues are found the matter is referred to Council’s engineering and infrastructure team, for further investigation, which will include assessing the capacity of the system,” Cr Makin said.
“Since the recent floods, investigations into Council’s stormwater drainage system has increased and Council is currently reviewing whether or not it needs to change the way the stormwater drainage network is designed and managed,” Cr Makin said.
“Council has a responsibility to property owners to ensure that the Council owned and operated drainage system is clear and functioning so it can capture any stormwater,” Cr Makin said.
“In times of excessive rainfall Council also needs to ensure that designated overland flow paths can handle the excess stormwater and work effectively to prevent properties from being flooded,” Cr Makin said.
“Council’s underground stormwater drainage system has historically been designed to a capacity of a one in five year magnitude storm, which is consistent with the industry standard” Cr Makin said.
“In the event of a storm of greater magnitude, the excess water is generally handled by designated overland flow paths which are created along drainage gullys, creeks or other low land points, during the initial developments stage of housing estates,” Cr Makin said.
“Council’s engineers are currently putting together a program to undertake detailed catchment analysis and flood mapping of the municipality which will help to determine appropriate solutions to stormwater management and may lead to improvements to underground pipe systems and overland flow paths to capture stormwater more effectively,” Cr Makin said.
“Investigations of the stormwater network and the associated improvement works is focussed on areas of land which were severely impacted during the recent flooding, with areas with property inundation taking precedence,” Cr Makin said.
“Council in conjunction with the SES is developing a Maroondah City Council Flood Emergency Plan which will assist in the identification of flooding risks and indicate suitable measure which can be undertaken to reduce and manage the risk of flooding,” Cr Makin said.
“Council working alongside the community to maintain Council-owned infrastructure and residential properties is the best way to ensure we are prepared in the event of heavy rainfall, and hopefully minimise the impacts of major flooding in the future,” Cr Makin said.
The best way to prepare for floods is to:
- Learn the risk for your home and/or business
- Prepare an emergency kit
- Put together a home or business emergency plan
- Keep a list of emergency numbers near your telephone
- Check your insurance policy
- If a flood warning is issued, listen to your emergency broadcaster for advice and check your neighbours are aware of the situation
- NEVER walk, ride or drive through floodwater. Driving through floodwater is the number one cause of death during floods
- NEVER allow children to play in floodwater. This is the number one cause of death during floods for children and teenagers
Throughout FloodSafe Week, SES volunteers will be running events in and around Maroondah. For more information or to learn about preparing a home emergency plan or home emergency kit, visit www.ses.vic.gov.au
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