13 March 2024

Residents urged to have their say as North Wagga flood mitigation options go on public display

| Jarryd Rowley
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river with power line warning signs

Wagga Wagga City Council will soon release a new report about possible ways to mitigate flood damage in North Wagga, allowing the public to weigh in on the best approach. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Wagga Wagga City Council (WWCC) has received a draft consultant report about options to help mitigate future flooding in North Wagga.

From 15 March, the report will go on public exhibition, allowing North Wagga residents to voice their preferences and opinions on the plans.

The current draft includes a staged approach that involves upgrading the existing North Wagga levee system and offering voluntary house-raising and purchasing.

The draft also includes methods of increasing road and bridge heights along Hampden Avenue to provide a safe evacuation route, subject to funding.

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WWCC director of strategy and projects Phil McMurray said the council had reached a critical stage of the flood mitigation project after receiving numerous reports and data throughout the past year.

“We’ve made the decision to put our findings and recommendations to public exhibition,” Mr McMurray said.

“Any feedback that’ll be obtained through the public exhibition phase will be considered by the Floodplain Risk Management Committee and then certainly by council.

”Following that, they will actually make a decision on what projects it wants to move forward with to solve the flood risk.”

Among the plans to upgrade the North Wagga levee system is the idea of lifting the levee to a ”one-in-20-year flood event” height.

Mr McMurray said raising the levee would provide protection for houses against the most regular flooding event and admitted it was a ”very good option”, but also explained there may be complications caused elsewhere because of it.

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“When you put water up and over a one-in-20 levee, that water then affects other parts of the city and local government areas,” he said.

“All that technical work has been done, so in the report, you can see what the other impacts are on the floodplain and we would like people to consider that. The Floodplain Risk Management Committee was pretty clear that it has a preliminary view that building a one-in-20-year levee in a staged manner is the best way to go in mitigating risks.”

Mr McMurray conceded that the staged water levee-raising approach was also the most cost-effective way to mitigate potential flood damage to North Wagga.

WWCC is predicting the cost of the project to be about $10 million. Currently, WWCC has $6m to spend on the work and is looking to the NSW Government for funding for the remaining costs.

The North Wagga flood mitigation options will be on public exhibition from 15 March until 26 April and will be available for viewing on the council’s website.

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