GOULBURN Murray Water, in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA) and Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) held a joint webinar to provide information regarding the upcoming forecast for the region, how Lake Eildon and Waranga Basin are managed, floodplain management plans and studies, the GBCMA flood portal, flood preparedness and what the SES/VicEmergency warnings mean.
The question that everyone wanted an answer to was, “Are we going to experience any further flooding in 2023?”
The answer was that while there has been a shift in the weather and so it was becoming increasingly less likely, we’re not out of the woods as yet.
June had been an exceptional month for large parts of the state. There was unexpected above average rainfall. Dry conditions had been expected, but tropical moisture from the north west brought rain across from Kimberly into the south east of the country.
2022 had been a la niña year but forecasts from various international agencies concur that we’re likely to be heading into el niño territory ahead of the coming summer.
It is anticipated storage volume in Lake Eildon will increase through August, aiming to be as close to full as possible to meet demands as they rise.
Andrew Shields, River Operations Manager for Goulburn Murray Water said he anticipated storage volume will increase through August and the aim was to have it as close to full as possible to meet anticipated demand. They will bring it up to full and then release water as demand rises.
If significant rainfall occurs when storage is full, releases can be made ahead of time if forecasts show a serious rain event is imminent. As a drier period is anticipated over the coming weeks and months, storage is considered critical ahead of it.
Understanding the chance of different sized floods occurring is important for managing flood risk. The preferred way of expressing that chance is Annual Exceedance Probability. A flood with a 1% AEP has a one in a hundred chance of being exceeded in any year.
The GBCMA website has a community flood intelligence portal where specific information can be found, right down to the risk profile of a particular address. There is an instruction video available on the page to help get you started if you need help. To access this information, go to gbcma.vic.gov.au/our-region/waterway-floodplain-management/floodplain-planning/gbfloodintelligenceportal
The SES advised of new simplified notifications that will be used across the various agencies that respond to emergency situations. ‘Emergency’ is red and the highest level of warning. It requires immediate action and any delay potentially puts life at risk. ‘Warning’ is orange and is equivalent to Watch and Act. It means take action now, an emergency is developing nearby and you should act now to protect yourself and others. The third and lowest level is ‘Advice’ which is yellow and denotes an incident is occurring and conditions should be monitored. The SES want people to know that if a life is in danger, the first call should always be to Triple Zero (000).