Tweed flood risk on rise
A SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED flood management database has identified that up to 30,000 people in the Tweed region would be affected if there was a major flood similar to those experienced in the 1950s and 1970s.
"It is frightening to think about it," Tweed Shire Council administrator Max Boyd said yesterday.
Mr Boyd said people new to the region might consider the floods that struck the region on June 30 as the worst they could expect but experience suggested otherwise.
"We will have floods bigger than that," Mr Boyd said.
And to make sure more people are not affected by a major flood, Mr Boyd is suggesting a radical change in the development of floodprone land in the shire.
He has asked his fellow administrators to consider using a new measure for deciding where new urban development is possible.
The new measure is the Maximum Probable Flood height and this data has been put together by the State Emergency Services.
For instance, the maximum probable flood height for Murwillumbah is put at 2.2 metres higher than the town's levy bank.
Mr Boyd hopes council will use this new tool which will be completed and presented to the administrators next month.
Going back to the 1950s when flooding was at its worst in the Tweed, the NSW State Government brought in guidelines for councils to decide what areas were suitable for development.
Based on these guidelines Tweed Shire Council chose to not allow development at the basic 1-in-100 levels plus a margin of 300mm.
Based om this measurement, development went ahead in areas such as Tweed Heads South and Flame Tree Park and the people who moved in were aware that flooding was a risk for their property.
Mr Boyd said there were areas at Chinderah, Kingscliff and Cabarita which were flood risk areas as well.
But Mr Boyd said major floods like those as Dapto, Coffs Harbour and Nyngan had seen the State Government decide more needed to be done to minimise flood risk and to assess dams and strengthen them across the State.
"Clarrie Hall Dam has to be strengthened and modified," Mr Boyd said.