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Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00pm
(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)


Wimmera flood research project underway

Apr 03, 2020

AdrianTylerFloodPhoto2-WebNews-360x253What's your flood risk?

Wimmera CMA is researching the community’s response to flooding risks and mitigation for their properties.

Wimmera CMA floodplain management team leader Paul Fennell said extensive investigations into flooding across the region had given flood managers and emergency services a thorough understanding of flood risks. The focus now needed to turn to the community’s knowledge and address any gaps.

“For example, we have been providing 1% or 1-in-100 flood mapping for more than 20 years but this is just one type of flood risk. We are interested to know if the community know what would happen in larger floods and whether they are prepared,” Mr Fennell said.

People’s perception of their property’s flood risk is one aspect of the survey.

“If we know this, we have somewhere to start in terms of improving their knowledge. For example we might know a property has a really high flood risk and the property owner might think there is no risk at all. If this is the case, we need to work with that owner to improve their understanding of the risk.”

The survey is also interested in whether people have flood plans and what they involve.

“In the case of a catastrophic flood event, do residents have a flood plan? Will they stay, will they leave, where will they go and do they have an escape route?” Mr Fennell said.

Where people source their information during emergencies is also something the survey is seeking.

“When people are under stress they need to know exactly what is going on, and it is up to emergency management organisations to communicate as clearly as possible. To do this we need to understand which sources they trust and what information is important when they’re making decisions about protecting their families and assets during floods.” 

The surveys are part of the Wimmera Floodplain Management Strategy’s Community Floodplain Knowledge and Language project. International expert in disaster management and education Neil Dufty from Molino Stewart is working with Water Technology on behalf of Wimmera CMA to deliver the project.

Mr Dufty said a range of psychological and sociological factors influenced flood risk awareness, understanding and preparedness.

“These include prior flood experience and local knowledge, social capital, availability and effectiveness of flood education, risk perception, coping appraisal, self-efficacy and trust in authorities and the information they provide,” he said.

“This is the first project of its type in Victoria that I am aware of and will contribute positively towards building flood resilience in the Wimmera. We are excited to be working on this project – what we learn in the Wimmera context will benefit other regions.”  

Surveys were distributed to a selection of Wimmera letterboxes and was also available to complete online as part of social research into flooding.