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As severe weather events like floods and severe storms become more frequent with the onset of climate change, there are steps communities can take to protect their homes and businesses.
Play the Mt Resilience experience to see how the community of Waterdown has worked together to mitigate the impact of extreme weather.
Solutions to floods in the suburbs
Severe storms and flooding destroyed the homes and businesses of the suburb of Waterdown at Mt Resilience. The community decided they could never take the chance of flooding again, and implemented the following measures to protect themselves:
- Moving to higher ground: With the governments help, the community moved the town from lower lying flood plains to higher ground. Now all their houses, businesses and critical services sit well above projected levels for extreme floods. The residents of Mt Resilience show us how building away from flood plains and flood-prone areas can dramatically reduce the risk of damage.
- Town planning and design: Town planning and design that factors in flood buffer zones can help to protect our suburbs. We know that floods are going to become more frequent with the onset of climate change, so making solid plans about how to cope with the impact of severe storms is critical. Waterdown is designed to help manage the impact of severe storms. Residents have transformed the flood plains they used to live on into a playing field, parks and a market garden. Gardens that take in storm water are scattered around buildings and throughout the streets. They help soak up water when it rains, slowing down any flooding and take pressure off the drains. Some water can also be stored to irrigate parks and farms.
- Developing emergency warning systems: Storms can be unpredictable and hard to forecast. Emergency services need to focus on getting the right warnings to people and helping anyone in danger.
- Building community centres: Waterdown might be prepared for extreme weather, but floods, rain, and hail will still cause a lot of damage to buildings. Trees will come down and roads might get cut off. So, community centres are always there to be the local hub to help residents, coordinate services and drive recovery.
A good example of this is the Dungog Community Centre, located on the Williams River in the Hunter Region of NSW. Hit hard by the floods and extreme storms of early 2022, the Centre offers a wide range of support for flood related issues, as well as flexible COVID funding.