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Levee management

Levees are an important part of Victoria's flood management infrastructure and can be highly effective in containing flood waters.

The effectiveness of levees depends on proper planning and management, including proper maintenance. Without care, levees can become ineffective or can even add to flood risk, hampering flood response and recovery.

Communities and individuals need to develop a plan to manage levees and should consider:

  • the location of levees
  • the design of levees
  • the management of levees.

We have developed levee management guidelines you can use. We worked with practitioners and managers in the field to develop the guidelines.

This work was in response to several recommendations from Parliament during the Victoria Environment and Natural Resources Committee (ENRC) Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in 2012.

The guidelines provide levee owners and managers, such as councils and landowners, guidance for managing all types of levees during its lifecycle. These include:

  • permanent earthen embankments
  • concrete walls
  • demountable and temporary structures.

The guidelines cover important aspects of

  • levee design
  • construction
  • maintenance
  • renewal
  • decommissioning.

Owners and managers can also find information of the actions they can take to successfully manage a levee before, during and after a flood.

Levee design, construction and management guidelines

Permits to maintain flood levees on Crown land

You can apply to your local catchment management authority (CMA) for a permit to pass over Crown land to access and maintain a levee. This follows an amendment to the Water Act 1989. This allows you to reduce the flood risk to your property by undertaking levee maintenance before floods occur.

The permit scheme applies to:

  • national parks
  • state forests
  • state wildlife reserves and nature reserves
  • unreserved and reserved Crown land.

The permit scheme does not apply to:

  • wilderness zones
  • heritage river catchment areas
  • land proclaimed as reference areas.

Maintenance includes:

  • fixing erosion
  • dealing with rabbit burrows
  • removing vegetation.

Maintenance does not include:

  • changing the original location of the levee
  • changing the height and width of the levee
  • building a new levee or removing an existing one because this could impact the effectiveness of other levees in the area.

You can get a permit for up to 5 years. If you intend to use machinery and introduce any soil or other material, you must undertake these actions within the first 12 months of the permit.

Your CMA will work with land managers to set conditions to reduce the impact of works on the Crown land and its flora and fauna. The first step is to complete a levee maintenance permit application kit.

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

Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Guidelines

Chapter 17 of the Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy sets out a series of policies, accountabilities, and actions for flood mitigation infrastructure in Victoria. It defines the management framework for flood mitigation infrastructure.

You can find a consolidated management framework for flood mitigation that covers 4 different infrastructure categories. This covers public and private land. Different management arrangements apply for each category.

Each document is a standalone document. This helps practitioners find information in their areas of interest to help with their decision-making. We encourage practitioners to read this document before deciding if you need further guidance.

Local government authorities and other parties addressing the framework's specific aspects helped prepare the guidance material. CMAs provided further support.

Related documents

Management framework for flood mitigation infrastructure

Guidance notes

Application kit

Page last updated: 19/10/23