Wimmera prepares for next big flood

WIMMERA organisations, emergency services and councils are prepared for the region’s next flood. 

The groups gathered in Horsham on Thursday to discuss the region’s flood response plans.

State Emergency Service operations manager Kendra Clegg said more than 60 people took part in the Mid West Regional Flood Discussion Exercise.

These included representatives from Victoria Police, Department of Human Services, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Department of Health, volunteer organisations, GWMWater, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, SES, Country Fire Authority and councils.

“We explored a scenario that was a flood in the Wimmera,” Ms Clegg said.

“The participants got their heads down and got busy trying to make sure there was a timely response for people who have been affected by the flood.”

Ms Clegg said it was important to have response plans ready for floods in the Wimmera.

“It might be that we don’t have another flood for two, three, five or 10 years, but just by doing the exercise we ensure that we’re prepared for it if it does happen,” she said.

She said intelligence from GWMWater and the Wimmera CMA about water was vital in a flood.

“GWMWater plays a big part and we looked at an impact on one of their reservoirs during a flood,” she said.

“It might be that we don’t have another flood for two, three, five or 10 years, but just by doing the exercise we ensure that we’re prepared for it if it does happen.” - State Emergency Service operations manager Kendra Clegg

Ms Clegg said the 2011 floods, that caused extensive damage to homes and businesses across the Wimmera, had proved to be a valuable learning experience.

“We’ve come so far since 2011,” she said. 

“That experience really enabled us to gather intelligence.

"From the historical data, 2011 created an opportunity to understand what we need to do, which is for agencies and individuals to work closely together.”

Ms Clegg said the feedback from participants had been positive.

“They found it really relevant in terms of understanding the planning processes and the key roles of Wimmera CMA and GWMWater in the intelligence sector,” she said.

The night also focused on using Wimmera knowledge in floods.

“We talked about tapping into local knowledge and understanding how to communicate more effectively and understand the community,” Ms Clegg said. 

“It’s about identifying and incorporating that knowledge into the response.”

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