Mitigation proposal put to local councils

Gawler flood report reveals mitigation proposal

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ANSWERS COMING: The floods affected hundreds of people and estimated to cost the horticulture industry more than $50 million. Picture: RICHARD VERNER

ANSWERS COMING: The floods affected hundreds of people and estimated to cost the horticulture industry more than $50 million. Picture: RICHARD VERNER

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Gawler River Flood Plains Authority released a report after the damaging October floods.

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THE Gawler River Flood Plains Authority has released a recommendations report to six local councils, including mitigation proposals, after the damaging October floods, with responses due by February 9.

The GRFPA undertook a review following the floods which occurred in the Gawler River catchment and affected several hundred people from September 26 to October 4.

The six constituent councils forming the authority are  Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Barossa, Gawler, Light and Playford.

“The councils will come back to the GRFPA with their comments and after which we will look at a public release,” GRFPA chairman Ian Baldwin said.

“There will then be some consultation with the public and we will continue to work with the state government and even the federal government to look at potential funding opportunities for the works described in the report.

“Anything that is able to provide funding for the works that might be required we will pursue.”

Mr Baldwin said they still didn’t have a final figure of the damage caused in the flood event but vegetable body Ausveg SA estimated the damage upwards of $50 million.

“We are keen to get that information. It is important as we will balance the cost of any work that might need to be done against potential losses,” he said.

Almond grower Brenton Sharpe lives on the edge of the Gawler River at Virginia. He lost a few hundred trees in the flooding.

“I would estimate the damage at $50,000 and we’re still rebuilding,” he said.

“We had 90 per cent of our almond trees under water.”

“We’ve seen so many floods here and they are different every time. We know it’s a fact of nature, but I believe controlled channels would be the answer,” Mr Sharpe said.

The report comes after Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas and Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced $4 million in Commonwealth funding to enable communities in SA to strengthen their resilience to natural disasters.

“Natural hazards are a fact of life in Australia, as recent SA events have shown. A community that is well prepared is in a better position to withstand the impacts of these hazards, not only in terms of lives and property saved, but also in the longer term recovery phase,” Mr Keenan said.

Mr Malinauskas said the funding would be used to support natural disaster resilience activities of state and local community relevance through the SA Natural Disaster Resilience Program fund scheme.

“Together with SA government contributions of $2.4 million and grant funds, the collective investment in SA is expected to exceed $8.3 million,” he said.

“State agencies, local councils, non-government organisations and volunteer organisations are encouraged to apply for funding for projects that build disaster resilience, demonstrate public value and provide sustainable community benefits.”

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