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Are You FloodSafe? Flooding in the Maitland area
31 Oct 2008

Maitland, in the Lower Hunter Valley, has a long history of flooding, with over 200 floods recorded on the Hunter River since 1820.

The flood of 1955 was the highest and most destructive, claiming 14 lives and causing 2 billion dollars worth of damage.

In response, the Lower Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme was developed, with levees, spillways, control banks and floodgates constructed, to protect against moderate levels of flooding.

However, Prolonged drought created a sense of complacency towards flooding. And Many new residents to the area were unaware of the history of flooding and present day risk.

In response, the Hunter-Central Rivers CMA and the State Emergency Service worked together with the local community to develop the Flood Education Strategy.

The strategy was launched in February 2007, on the anniversary of the 1955 flood

A variety of activities have since been implemented by the CMA and SES to promote flood safety and a better understanding of the flood mitigation scheme and its limits.

An information kit, ‘Are You FloodSafe’ was developed and distributed to 8000 households and businesses.

The kit contains a DVD with a model of a 100 year flood in Maitland, developed using state of the art technology. The model has been showcased at state and national flood conferences.

The project was highly commended in the 2007 Australian Safer Communities Award

The flood of June 2007 was both a test of the mitigation scheme, and the response of the community. Over 4000 residents and business operators were successfully evacuated from the city centre.

A survey was conducted to evaluate the project, and found that the level of awareness and preparedness for flooding had increased significantly. And the city was declared 'ready to face floods'

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