Lismore’s four major floods cost us $10 billion in damages
THE efforts of local people committing their time to the Flood plain Management Committee within Lismore City Council (LCC) are to be commended. Graham Askey for example is a wealth of local, flood disaster knowledge who uses his experience to try and improve the future of Lismore for everyone.
Despite the efforts of the Flood plain Management Committee and the people on it, Lismore City Council and the committee must realise (if they don't already) that the region's problem with flooding will not be solved at local government level. Or by Lismore City Council alone.
Lismore city is the most flood impacted community in Australia having experienced more than 129 minor, moderate and major floods in the past 150 years. Bureau of Meteorology measure flood above 4 metres AHD. But flood damage extends well across the Northern Rivers region.
Risk Frontiers, one of Asia-Pacific's leading providers of risk management and catastrophe modelling, estimates a cost of more than $10 billion in reparations and recovery for the four biggest "Lismore" floods of 1954, 1974, 1989 and 2017 alone. An additional 85 floods have been experienced within the time frame 1954 - 2017.
The Wilsons/Richmond catchment is large and complex with water being both a blessing and a curse.
Over the past 70 years there have been multiple flood mitigation proposals put forward in an attempt to resolve the flooding situation. All projects implemented to date have been Lismore specific and have been restricted by the amount of funding available.
It is time to look at a whole of catchment strategy and devise a major project that will encompass water security, flood mitigation and the environment.
We, as residents of flood affected Northern Rivers communities deserve solutions that respect the magnitude and scope of the problem. This is a state significant problem requiring a state significant solution with undoubtedly federal government assistance.
We are wasting ratepayers and taxpayer's money until we start thinking about this problem for what it is.
Austin Curtin, Farmer, Tregeagle