Is Grafton prepared for when the levee walls are breached?
LATEST flood modelling for the Clarence River has given the Clarence Valley Council a detailed look at the potential for urban flooding around Grafton and South Grafton.
Speaking ahead of a presentation planned for the Grafton Chamber of Commerce September Breakfast, the council's local emergency management officer Kieran McAndrew said council was invited to address the meeting after staff discussed floods and other emergencies with representatives of the Clarence aged care sector.
Mr McAndrew said the presentation would discuss the impact of various levels of flooding on Grafton and South Grafton.
"Grafton's flood history will be detailed and the audience will be shown council's digital Clarence River flood model, how this model works and what types of information the model can provide," he said.
"This is important because 1967 was the last flood where riverine floodwater entered Grafton, and June next year will mark 50 years since floodwaters have been inside the levees in the city.
"Before 1967 the Grafton urban area was flooded on average twice every decade. Since 1967 the levees have prevented the Clarence River from entering Grafton about a dozen times.
"With it being nearly 50 years there are not many people left with clear recollections of what a flood does to a large urban community."
Grafton Chamber of Commerce executive member Mark Butler said it was important for businesses to have an insight into the potential damage floods pose.
"It's all to do with forward planning, with all the changes that's happening in the landscape in and around the valley with the bridge and the highway, we want to get a full picture of what could happen in the event of floods," Mr Butler said.
"It will be very interesting to see what the modelling predicts, because changes in flooding has happened over many years. The areas of flooding change depending on the level of the flood, and there's always movement and changes where flooding affects different areas, so to come up with modelling will assist people plan better."
Mr McAndrew said some people claim levee walls cause complacency.
"They think levees cause people to be unprepared for the inevitable flood event that will overwhelm the levee walls and flood the community, but as long as people remain vigilant to floods by talking about floods and being informed of how they can plan for floods, this complacency can be avoided," he said.
"As part of this it is essential council reminds people that much of our urban area is flood prone.
"That is why council staff will speak to the chamber on Wednesday, and recently spoke with other groups such as the child care industry and at a community information session in Dovedale."