In early 2022, as many in our community would remember, we experienced our wettest January in 40 years. Wild storm activity and the resulting flooding and inundation of our sewer and storm water network had a major impact across our region, with our city (amongst others) subsequently declared a Natural Disaster Zone by the NSW Government.
We were saddened to see the devastating impacts to resident and business properties, including within our CBD, Thurgoona, Lavington, Springdale Heights, Hamilton Valley and Splitters Creek, with many of these impacts still being felt by members of our community.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm events, we received more than 2,000 requests for assistance from community members. Our field and office-based teams did a tremendous job in triaging and prioritising support, with a focus on immediate clean-up operations such as clearing fallen trees, unblocking drains and culverts, sandbagging of damaged drain and stormwater assets, and removing debris from roads to ensure community safety.
Road repair works were undertaken in Thurgoona, Springdale Heights, Hamilton Valley and Splitters Creek to bring these assets back up to working order and keep our city moving. Significant sewer and storm water repair works were also undertaken in areas which experienced inundation, with CCTV camera investigation, vacuum cleaning, jetting and structural works.
Thank you to our internal teams, response agencies and everyone in the community for working together and supporting each other through what was an extremely challenging time for our city.
Looking forward, in our Budget 2022-2023 we have allocated funds within our works program for the design of upgrades to our stormwater and sewer networks.
Extensive modelling of our entire sewer network has been undertaken utilising newly acquired cutting edge software. We will be undertaking extensive smoke testing and infiltration studies to pinpoint areas where the operation of the sewer network can be improved, and continue to improve the operation of the sewer network through our annual sewer rehabilitation program.
We are working on a number of important strategies that will help to inform future management of our networks and our local environment.
We will be developing our revised Asset Management Strategy, which will ensure appropriate resources are allocated to the ongoing improvement of infrastructure, including assessments and actions around our stormwater network and its continued efficacy in a changing climate.
We are also partnering with City of Wodonga to implement our Albury Wodonga Regional Natural Environment Strategy, which has a number of actions to help mitigate the direct and indirect risks associated with climate change.
Our Climate Change Adaptation Strategy identifies opportunities to adapt to a changing climate. This includes the investigation of improved design infrastructure standards with actions that target intense rain events, addressing seasonal weather patterns, and improving data capture and interrogation methods to inform asset management and renewal plans.
And our Urban Forest Strategy will seek to create a thriving urban forest across our city to deliver a range of benefits to our community’s physical and mental well-being, landscape character, biodiversity, and climate resilience.
More information on what we’re doing as a Council to manage the impact of future storm events, as well as how you can protect your property, can be found on the Water and Sewer section of our website.
Stay well and stay connected - as we support our community deliver on our shared vision of a nationally significant regional city that is vibrant, diverse, innovative and connected, and inspired by its culture, environment and location on the Murray River.