29 May 2024

North Wagga levee to be raised to 'one-in-20-year' height

| Jarryd Rowley
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Wagga Floods

WWCC will look to implement a new one-in-20-year levee to help mitigate the flood risks in North Wagga. Photo: NSW SES.

Wagga Wagga City Council (WWCC) has approved a two-stage plan to mitigate the damages caused by floods in North Wagga.

The report presented to WWCC detailed a process that included upgrading the existing North Wagga levee to a “one-in-20-year” height and offering voluntary house raising and purchase subject to risk reduction and cost-effectiveness.

The second stage will need to be reviewed once funding is allocated but is projected to increase the heights of the road and bridges along Hampden Ave to provide a safe evacuation route.

Wagga Wagga City Council’s Director of Strategy and Projects Phil McMurray said the report had taken several years to get to the delivery stage, stating several factors needed detailed planning.

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“There is quite a significant history of flooding in North Wagga and we’ve spent some time looking at what solutions there are,” he said.

“About three years ago, Council identified that there were three specific options that they wanted to investigate as flood mitigation options for North Wagga.

“Those options were voluntary house raising, purchasing a one-in-20-year levee or a combination of both.

“The combined option with targeted house raising purchase for those that are adversely affected, plus the purchase of a one-in-20-year levee in a staged manner is the decision of Council and that’s great as it gives us the opportunity to now progress forward.”

Mr McMurray explained that properties that were directly affected by the first stage of the project and were required to be raised would be included in the project budget, while other people looking to raise their properties would need to do so individually or via a state selection process.

“This has been done so that people [affected by stage one] don’t have any concerns about going into a prioritised list across the state; these works will happen in conjunction with the levee project,” Mr McMurray said.

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Mr McMurray also shed light on why WWCC suggested the one-in-20-year levee over a one-in-50 or one-in-100-year height.

“When you build levees on the floodplain water is diverted to other parts of the city or the floodplain,” he said.

“The adverse impact of high-level development on the floodplain is worse for many people.

“The one-in-20 levee is also adversely impacting others but not to the degree that one-in-50 or 100 levees would.”

WWCC has already begun seeking funding for the design phase of the levee, which it is hoping to receive by November this year.

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