Flood management has always been a challenge, but planning for and adapting to floods in northern Victoria will only prove more problematic if long-term trends of forecasted drought are realised. At the Climate Change and Floodplain Management in Victoria think tank, held on Monday 15 August in Kerang, the community, local and state based agencies, government, emergency services, and experts on flood management came together to discuss the implications of climate change for floodplain management in light of experiences from the 2010-2011 floods in Kerang and other parts of northern Victoria. These floods not only brought devastation to a community, they highlighted some of the frustrations that agencies, local government and community encounter when dealing with a major natural disaster.
Many of the tools for managing flooding under climate change are already available. International examples of good practice in flood plain management include:
- Having the right enabling factors in place, including appropriate policies and laws and flood hazard mapping.
- Effective planning controls and enforcement are needed to deter construction of housing or infrastructure in flood risk zones.
- ‘Safety margins’ can be used to upgrade building standards and flood defences for specified amounts of climate change (in heavy rainfall and peak river flows for example).
- Incentives can be built into insurance policies to encourage people to take steps to reduce their vulnerability to flooding through measures such as temporary defences or water resilient construction.
- Establishing real time river monitoring systems that capture data from remote gauges and convey flood levels in meaningful and accessible ways to the public.