Ballina councillor Keith Williams, chair of Rous County Council.
Ballina councillor Keith Williams, chair of Rous County Council.

Council looks for nature-based solutions to rivers flooding

‘GREEN infrastructure’ and nature-based solutions for flood mitigation on the Northern Rivers is the basis of the Northern Rivers Watershed Initiative.

The aim is to restore the Richmond and Tweed rivers back to as natural and as healthy a state as they were prior to European settlement.

Developed by Rous County Council and adopted by the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation in 2019, the project proposes the use of natural flood mitigation practices to address upper catchment health and downstream flooding impacts.

Besides managing bulk water supply for Byron, Ballina, Lismore and Richmond River councils, Rous also deals with weed biosecutiry and matters of flood mitigation for those areas.

Rous County Council’s chair, Keith Williams, was approached by Whian Whian Landcare

with a request of a $5000 contribution towards a joint project, to research and update materials and references supporting natural flood mitigation strategies.

Whian Whian Landcare will contribute $2,000.

At the last Rous Country Council meeting, councillors approved a motion by Cr Williams to

contribute the $5,000 requested.

Brunswick Heads
Brunswick Heads

The funds were sourced from within an existing budget allocation towards a joint project with Whian Whian Landcare and Southern Cross University (SCU), to update natural flood mitigation materials and references used to support the Northern Rivers Watershed Initiative (NRWI).

Cr Williams said the initiative was the preferred framework for looking at river health and flood prevention in natural ways for Rous.

“Unfortunately, because of things happening at Southern Cross University, a grant that we hoped it was going to be funded hasn’t happened yet, and we need to breach the gap in the meantime,” he said.

Read more>> REVEALED: SCU’s flood research centre shuts down

“There is stuff that we can do that will improve water quality, and river health, because the aim is the have more water stored within the landscape and to slow it down rather to speed it up, to enable it to soak into the landscape.

“The idea is to implement initiatives that slow down flooding and keep the rivers healthy.”

The Watershed Initiative is also currently under consideration as part of the draft Far

North Coast Regional Water Strategy.


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