Flood Management, Emergency Risk Resilience and Rural Drainage

This suite of initiatives is delivering action 10.12 in Chapter 10 of Water for Victoria to improve the emergency management capability and resilience of the water sector, along with action 4.10 in Chapter 4 of Water for Victoria, to develop a rural drainage strategy. It is also funding delivery of the second tranche of the Government’s flood mitigation measures following the 2010-11 and 2012 floods.

This work will guide Victoria’s transition to a new community-centered approach to decision making and governance for flood mitigation and drainage infrastructure.

EC4 Expenditure to date

Flood and emergency risk resilience $826,800 $6,732,143 $8,692,000 $8,750,000
Water for Victoria: Develop a rural drainage strategy - $250,000 $500,000 $250,000
Mitigating the risks of old dams and flood retarding basins - - $1,500,000$1,500,000


Flood Management

The Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy (VFMS) was released in April 2016. An October 2020 EY audit has confirmed that of the 56 actions outlined by the strategy 43 are complete and/or embedded as of agencies’ business as usual practice. The remaining 13 actions are in progress.

Nine Regional Floodplain Management Strategies (RFMS) have also been completed. The RFMSs interpret and apply the VFMS policies and actions at the regional and local scale. They identify flood mitigation measures for prioritised implementation over the next five years, including flood studies, municipal flood plans, flood warnings, local flood mitigation infrastructure and updated planning schemes.

Investment in the Water Intelligence Platform FloodZoom includes completion of a land use planning module for Catchment Management Authority use in assessing town planning permit proposals in flood prone areas. Flood emergency responders have access to an up to date suite of flood maps and study reports with the inclusion of flood maps and other flood data from additional local flood studies.

Since the initiative commenced in 2016, 116 flood mitigation projects have received funding. Locally led flood mitigation works have been planned designed and implemented at Skipton, Dunolly, Donald, Euroa, Rochester, Warragul, Wodonga and Warracknabeal (retarding basin, diversion channels and levees). In Charlton, Numurkah, Carisbrook and Seymour, local councils have consulted extensively with their communities about their preferences for final works implementation. Mitigation works are approaching completion for a further 10 locations.

37 flood modelling and mapping studies received funding along with six projects to collect hydraulic and topographic data. Flood maps from several of these projects have been are or in the process of being translated into planning scheme amendments for 16 locations including Buloke, Ballarat, Colac, Mount Alexander, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Shepparton, Strathbogie, Warrnambool and Wangaratta municipalities.

Flood warning gauges have been installed and upgraded at Bairnsdale, Numurkah, Skipton, Casterton, Charlton, Donald and East Gippsland, giving communities access to real time river and rain fall data.

Emergency Risk Management

This initiative has made significant improvements to resilience and emergency management in the water sector. It has improved the emergency management capability and capacity of emergency management staff in DELWP regions and in the water sector to prepare and respond to water related incidents. Emergency response plans have been updated. The DELWP Water Duty Officer role, which is a 24/7, 365 days a year role dedicated for water emergencies, commenced in 2018. A total of 15 DELWP staff have to date been appointed and trained for this role.

A total of nine DELWP staff have also been appointed and trained as Water Services Specialists. This is a specialist role for water emergencies that advises the Incident Controller and/or State Response Controller on risks and consequences, response option analysis and operational response by drawing on a broad network of technical and operational specialists.

Emergency exercises have been undertaken by all water corporations, the desalination plant and DELWP, with participation by all relevant stakeholders annually. Training has also been developed and provided annually to relevant staff in DELWP regions, water corporations and catchment management authorities in dam safety and emergency management to upskill and improve capabilities across the water sector.

A survey to assess the water sector emergency management capability and capacity has been completed. This has provided information on levels of current resourcing/capabilities and identified any gaps/risks to assist in scoping out further training needs.

The annual Water Sector Resilience Plan has been developed to identify key emergency risks for the water sector and the resilience improvement initiatives to address these, including a focus on capacity and capability building for emergencies.

Substantial progress has been made in the upgrade of the web-based Water Intelligence Platform that is used to collect, analyse, monitor and report on dam safety, algal blooms and other key water sector risks. All the identified priority upgrades for these modules have been completed. The algal blooms module, risk module and the dams module are all now in operation with data being used for monitoring, analysis and reporting.

Rural Drainage Strategy

This initiative has funded development and implementation of a new rural drainage strategy for Victoria, in collaboration with local government, catchment management authorities, the Victorian Farmers’ Federation, coastal and catchment councils, and the community. Following extensive consultation the Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy was released on 8 October 2018, providing a framework that sets rules, protocols and support mechanisms to enable landholders and government agencies to overcome past barriers to the repair and management of degraded rural drainage system. Rural Drainage Resource Kits and tools, to support landholders and agency partners consider the costs and benefits of investing in dryland rural drainage, were developed and released alongside the Strategy.

Fourteen pilot projects have been delivered investigating options to resolve drainage issues identified in the development of the Strategy and to make safe or decommission remaining infrastructure previously managed by CMAs. These include:

CMA Pilot Projects
  1. Woady Yaloak and Lough Calvert risk management and modernisation
  2. Voluntary Cultural Heritage Management Plan Pilot in the Woady Yaloak and Loch Calvert
  3. Flood Mapping of the Woady Yaloak and Lough Calvert Systems
Glenelg Hopkins
  1. Building Capability; Nullawarre and Eumeralla drainage systems
  2. Restoration of Gorrie Swamp Hydrological Assessment
  3. Restoring cultural practices across the Budj Bim landscape
  1. Northern Dunmunkle Creek restoration plan
North Central
  1. Bullock Creek River Improvement Trust District management planning
  2. Seven Months Creek Culvert Upgrade
  3. Putting the swamp back into Long Swamp
Goulburn Broken
  1. Upper Mid Broken Creek dryland drainage investigation
North East
  1. Drainage mapping and survey
  2. Moving to Contemporary Drainage in the North East Region
    • Design and Upgrade of Priority Drainage Infrastructure Risks
    • Rural Drainage Asset Repair and Replacement
West Gippsland
  1. Moe River Flats – Transition to contemporary drainage arrangements and capital works at Kilmany Park

The Rural Drainage Resource Kit for landholders is has been revised and expanded, based on learnings and feedback gained from the pilot project program and general implementation of the strategy.

A Rural Drainage Resource Kit for agency staff (local government, catchment management authorities, DELWP FFR) has been developed to support regional capability.

DELWP rural drainage staff have engaged with key agency stakeholders at formal forums to provide information and guidance on implementing the strategy.

Mitigating the risks of old dams and flood retarding basins

This initiative has assisted three local government authorities (Ballarat City Council, Loddon Shire Council and Southern Grampians Shire Council) to reduce risks and improve the safety of two high-risk small dams and one flood retarding basin in Victoria. The three structures identified to receive grant funding were based on the outcomes of DELWP’s Local Government Dams Assessment program that was completed in 2017. The local government authorities responsible for the three identified structures contributed up to 50% of the grant funding provided towards these initiatives.

Rehabilitation works for the Dunkeld dam (Southern Grampians Shire Council) were completed in April 2020. The upgrade has included remediating the embankment and the spillway for a total project cost of $1,375,000.

Rehabilitation works for the Old Inglewood dam (Loddon Shire Council) are scheduled to be completed in October 2020. The remediation works include upgrading the embankment, spillway and outlet works for a total project cost of $1,443,000.

Rehabilitation of the Charlesworth Road Retarding Basin (Ballarat City Council) will be completed in June 2021. The project has been delayed due to complexity of the engineering design. The scope of the works will include remediating the 6 km long embankment and outlet structures for a total project cost of $3,000,000.

This initiative has made the recreational areas and public amenities close to the structures that have been rehabilitated safer for communities. It has also improved emergency preparedness and response for these structures.

Page last updated: 27/11/20