Well done to all involved in the recent Gippsland flood response. Water Technology Pty Ltd local engineer, Simon Hof, was working alongside authorities in the Incident Control Centre. Supported by an expert team back in the office, Simon assisted authorities with critical decision making.
Valuable online flood mapping was made available to emergency response authorities for areas across Gippsland. This allowed authorities to understand the risk and to respond accordingly. An example is provided on the following East Gippsland Shire Council website developed during the recent Tambo Flood Warning and Mapping Investigation. Comparing to some aerial imagery captured during the event, the mapping was very accurate.
These maps should be made available to the public, they are easy to use and allow a good understanding of the wider floodplain as well as drilling down to the property level. The maps show quite clearly the section of Swan Reach Road near Mossiface where a local motorist got into strife. The flood mapping showed depths of around 2.5 m at the deepest spot on this road. If these maps were easily available to the community and delivered with appropriate messaging, perhaps this incident and the stranding of a large dairy cattle herd may have been avoided. We have come a long way since the 2010-11 floods, dramatically improving the flood mapping available across Victoria. Websites such as http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/ and the increased social media presence of the Bureau of Meteorology and VIC SES has raised communications also. However I think we still have work to do in communicating complex flood behaviour to communities, and I think easy online mapping such as that provided to authorities during this event, would greatly improve the communities response to future floods.
Water Technology also ran a dynamic hydraulic flood forecasting model of the Gippsland Lakes, which provided authorities with accurate and timely flood predictions of levels within the lakes over a day before the peak.
Being involved in this flood emergency has been a great experience for the team. I think all flood mapping consultants would be better off from being exposed to a real emergency, it allows you to understand what authorities and communities want and need. Thank you VIC SES for allowing us to assist you and others throughout this event, and thanks to all those agencies and volunteers who helped our Gippsland communities through this event.