Maribyrnong River Flood Review report released 

The Independent Review Panel appointed by Melbourne Water to review the Maribyrnong River flood event of 14 October 2022 has handed down its report.  

The Independent Review Panel appointed by Melbourne Water to review the Maribyrnong River flood event of 14 October 2022 has handed down its report.

The Review was led by former Federal and Victorian Supreme Court Judge Tony Pagone AM KC. It examined the causes and contributors to the flood event in the urban catchment.

The Panel held public consultations in July this year. It heard from interested parties and community members detailing their experiences of the floods. The Panel also  considered the 63 submissions made to the Review. Melbourne Water also attended and participated in the consultations.

Amongst the findings, the report recommended Melbourne Water should:

  • Undertake more regular reviews of flood models, considering the best estimates of climate change.
  • Investigate long-term sustainable flood mitigation options for the Maribyrnong River.
  • Use the hydraulic model developed (expected April 2024) to confirm the impact of the Flemington Flood Wall and the efficacy of the associated downstream compensatory works.
  • Implement flood forecasting at intervals of less than two hours and consult with the Bureau of Meteorology to develop rainfall forecasts more frequently than every 6 hours.

Maribyrnong River  flood review welcomed by Melbourne Water

Melbourne Water Managing Director Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo welcomed the findings of the Review Panel whilst acknowledging there was still more work to do.

“We welcome the findings of the Independent Panel and will work to implement all of the recommendations.

“Melbourne Water has been working closely with the community in Maribyrnong and other affected locations over the past 12 months. We held community sessions across the impacted areas. The Panel received more than 60 submissions and heard from more than 100 residents during the community consultation. We used this process to listen, learn and act.

“Since the flood, we have made significant improvements and commitments. We have committed to providing a new flood model for every catchment in Melbourne by the end of 2026. This includes climate change impacts projected to the year 2100.

“We are now planning the transition of emergency riverine flood forecasting functions to the Bureau of Meteorology. This transition will cut down the time to produce flood warnings. That’s because of the reduced handoff points between agencies that currently produce flood warnings to the community.

“We have been working with our partners, VicSES and Councils, to seek further improvements to the level of community flood awareness and preparedness. This includes using our “flood proofing your home” guide and increased flood awareness campaigns.”

Some outstanding issues remain a priority

Dr Di Lorenzo acknowledged some outstanding issues to resolve at the Rivervue Retirement Village. This work remained a priority for Melbourne Water, including the site-specific flood management plan that is currently being completed.

“We were also able to establish some important facts about the mitigating works that were put in place to offset the impact of the Flemington Wall. We are now finalising the complex year-long hydraulic modelling project that will confirm its impact. This detailed work will be complete by April 2024 and provided to the Panel to draw its final conclusions, which will be released publicly.”

Melbourne Water will also table the Review report and participate in the Parliamentary Inquiry into Victoria’s floods. It will appear before the Legislative Council and Environment and Planning Committee Panel next week.

Dr Di Lorenzo also thanked Justice Pagone and the Maribyrnong River Review Panel for their work over the past six months.

“We thank Justice Tony Pagone and the Maribyrnong River Review Panel for their work over the past six months and the work they will continue to do. We acknowledge the findings of the Independent Panel and will work to implement all the recommendations.”

A link to the Maribyrnong River Flood Review Independent Panel’s Report and other documents can be found on the Maribyrnong River Flood Review project page.

You can learn more about the Review and sign up for email updates on YourSay Melbourne Water.

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