Saturday, May 25, 2024

Tweed Shire progresses push for CSIRO flood study

Tweed Shire Council says calls for the CSIRO to undertake a study of the Tweed River catchment area and surrounding coastal estuaries have progressed, with a meeting hosted by Council in Murwillumbah this week.

Led by Mayor of Tweed Shire, Chris Cherry, yesterday’s meeting was attended by Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot; Lismore MP, Janelle Saffin; Deputy Mayor, Meredith Dennis; Councillor Reece Byrnes and representatives from the CSIRO and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), as well as local drainage unions and farming representatives.

The meeting followed a community meeting on 5 April and a resolution by Council on 6 April to support a call by the local community for a full study of the Tweed River catchment area by the CSIRO, similar to that which is being carried out in the Richmond River catchment area around Lismore.

Following the resolution, Council wrote a letter to local State and Federal representatives, calling for their support in requesting the Federal Government’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to fund comprehensive CSIRO hydrological and hydrodynamic modelling of the Tweed Shire catchments.

“We are very grateful for the speed at which this meeting was convened and thank everyone for their attendance,” Mayor Cherry said.

“At the Council meeting of 6 April 2023, Councillors unanimously resolved to support our community in their desire to have the CSIRO modelling to assess and make risk management decisions which will guide our flood mitigation for the next generation.

“Our Shire has supported the direction of support to the Lismore area, knowing their need was great, but with the inundation of over 2,000 homes in the Tweed, we also need to have the latest comprehensive scientific modelling in order to provide a more resilient future for our community.”

Mayor Chris Cherry and Deputy Mayor Meredith Dennis met with local farming and community representatives including (from left) Robert Hawken, David Bartlett, Neil Baker, Joanne Iva and Robert Quirk to discuss calls for a CSIRO flood study.

The CSIRO study would be undertaken in addition to the Tweed Valley Flood Study Update and Expansion project, currently being undertaken by leading flood consultants engaged by Council with technical and financial support from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Council said in a statement today.

This study, which is already fully funded, is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, including a public exhibition period and public information sessions. It will produce the latest flood model which can then be used to investigate flood mitigation measures and to guide future flood planning.

Mayor Cherry said the requested CSIRO study, should it go ahead, would not just focus on the Tweed River catchment area but would be expanded to also take in the Tweed Coast’s three coastal estuary catchments around Cudgen Creek, Cudgera Creek and Mooball Creek.

“The CSIRO study would be able to input greater data sets into its modelling, including ground saturation levels, providing more scope to examine future scenarios and allow us to better mitigate flood risk,” she said.

“This, combined with Council’s own flood studies, would provide the best possible research of our floodplain and allow our community to confidently make decisions based on the best risk assessment possible.”

Mayor Cherry said it was expected the new CSIRO study would be funded from the Federal or State Governments’ disaster resilience programs.

However, if the flood study was to go ahead, she said the CSIRO was not in a position to be able to undertake the Tweed study until the completion of the Richmond River catchment study, which is expected to take at least another two years.

Find out more about the Tweed Valley Flood Study Update and Expansion at yoursaytweed.com.au/flood-study.

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