16 August 2022

Council says past experience helps it effectively manage flooding

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Parts of Wagga’s Riverside precinct were submerged in the recent flooding. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga City Council says its crews have effectively managed the recent flooding, ensuring the community’s safety and wellbeing.

The council team monitored the water levels of the river and creeks and closed the roads when necessary during the moderate flooding period.

They worked closely with the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) using data collated from previous flooding events to predict which floodgates and roads needed to close at certain river heights.

The council’s director of infrastructure service Warren Faulkner and supervisor of underground operations Ron Cheney were responsible for assessing the changing situation to ensure the response was appropriate.

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“We were keeping an eye on what was happening upstream at Gundagai, the rate of rising of the river in Wagga, as well as the weather, to trigger specific responses,” Mr Faulkner said.

“We’re constantly monitoring and checking that water isn’t anywhere unusual. We erect warning signs and reduce speed limits as necessary to provide a safe environment for the public, and we try to keep the roads open for as long as possible.”

Mr Cheney watched the river and creek levels in real time and kept this team in the loop on when to take action.

“We’ve been through quite a few floods now, so we know exactly what we need to shut and when, depending on the river levels,” Mr Cheney said.

“Thankfully, we weren’t dealing with heavy rain at the same time, which would have meant carrying out a whole other set of actions as well.

“Every time we have a flood, we capture a fresh set of data and compile that with our on-the-ground experiences to ensure we can keep perfecting our response.”

The council will assess which roads to reopen as the water levels slowly subside.

Once the water goes down, we won’t open the roads up straight away because they’re still not safe,” Mr Cheney said.

“We need to remove debris and ensure the pavement is stable. Once we’re satisfied they’re sound, we’ll open them up again to traffic.”

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The council regularly inspects the levee floodgates to ensure they are shut.

”There’s actually more potential for damage to the levees as the water goes down, so we keep a close eye on them and the surrounding surfaces to ensure they’re secure,” Mr Cheney said.

Mr Faulkner said the council was constantly monitoring the situation to ensure the community’s safety.

“We really appreciate everyone’s patience while we reopen the roads, and ask that people continue to stay out of floodwater and follow the guidance of the NSW State Emergency Service,” he said.

For NSW SES updates, click here.

For flood-related road closure updates, click here.

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