Levees are an important part of Victoria's flood management infrastructure and can be highly effective in containing flood waters. However without proper planning and management, including maintenance, they can become ineffective or even add to flood risk and hamper flood response and recovery.

Communities and individuals need to develop a plan to manage their levees, covering issues such as where the levees are located, their design, and how they will be managed.

DELWP developed the Levee Management Guidelines in consultation with practitioners and managers in the field in response to several recommendations of the Parliament of Victoria Environment and Natural Resources Committee (ENRC) Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in Victoria (August 2012). They provide levee owners and managers, such as councils and landowners, with high-level guidance for the whole-of-life-cycle management of various types of levees. These include permanent earthen embankments, concrete walls, and demountable and temporary structures.

The guidelines cover important aspects of levee design, construction, maintenance, renewal or decommissioning. They also describe what levee owners or managers need to do to ensure the successful management of a levee before, during and after a flood.

DEP 8419 Levee design construction and management guidelines (PDF, 3.8 MB)

DEP 8419 Levee design construction and management guidelines (Accessible) (DOCX, 1.8 MB)

Permits to maintain flood levees on Crown land

Victorian landholders can now apply to their local Catchment Management Authority (CMA) for a permit to pass over Crown land to access and maintain a levee, following an amendment to the Water Act 1989.

This will enable landholders to actively reduce the flood risk to their property by undertaking levee maintenance years before a flood occurs. Previously, they needed to seek approval under several different land acts.

The permit scheme applies to national parks, state forests, state wildlife reserves and nature reserves, unreserved and reserved Crown land. Wilderness zones, heritage river catchment areas and land proclaimed as reference areas are excluded.

Maintenance includes fixing erosion, dealing with rabbit burrows and removing vegetation. It does not include changing the levee's original location, height and width, building a new levee, or removing an existing one, as this could impact on the effectiveness of other levees in the area.

The permit can be issued for up to five years. However, the use of machinery and the introduction of any soil or other material must take place within the first 12 months of the permit. CMAs will work with land managers to set conditions to reduce the impact of works on the Crown land and its flora and fauna.

For more information about the permits, please contact your local CMA.