Flood plan funds

The Ararat community will be better prepared for flooding following the announcement of $251,000 in funding for the town's first ever detailed flood investigation.

Visiting Ararat last Thursday, Minister for Water Peter Walsh, alongside Federal Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan announced the project to be jointly funded by the Victorian Coalition Government, Commonwealth Government and Ararat Rural City, with in-kind support from the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Mr Walsh said the project will provide Ararat with flood maps for the first time.

"As I understand it there has never been a flood study for Ararat," he said.

"This investigation will develop flood models to understand flood extents, depths, velocities and potential impacts of a range of flood events. It will also assess and recommend flood mitigation options in consultation with the community.

"This project will give the town a better understanding of its flood risk, which will improve land use planning, flood emergency planning and response, and community preparation for floods."

Floods in 2011 caused significant disruption and damage in and around Ararat. The Western Highway was flooded along with many properties, and there was substantial erosion to waterways.

"As I understand it, the Western Highway was flooded at one particular time so this is the opportunity to do a detailed flood study that will help inform council around its planning decisions and help inform VICRoads around the decisions they'll make in future with regards to the Western Highway bypass."

Ararat Rural City Councillor, Ian Harris welcomed the financial assistance for a project he believes is long overdue.

Minister for Water Peter Walsh in Ararat last Thursday.

Minister for Water Peter Walsh in Ararat last Thursday.

"This is something that the council has been urging for some time because the nature of the topology of Ararat is that we don't get major flood issues, but, when they do happen we need to know where they are going to happen so that when were are opening up new land for development we're not inadvertently opening up land that is going to end up being flooded in the future," he said.

Mr Tehan said the funding for the flood investigation will help communities to be more prepared in the future and help minimise damage to properties.

"We can not forget the devastation they rort in some communities," he said.

"I witnessed the impact the floods had on some of our local communities, such as Carisbrook, Beaufort and Skipton. It crippled businesses and communities for a long time after the flood waters retreated.

"This funding is another step in making sure that communities have the planning to deal with future flood events and hopefully we can do whatever we can to stop them happening again."

Mr Tehan said Glenelg Hopkins CMA will manage the investigation with support from the rural City of Ararat and a multi agency project steering group. They will work with the community to capture local knowledge of past floods.

The Victorian Government is contributing $155,730 through the FloodZoom program, part of a $4.2 million investment in flood related projects in 2014.

The Federal Government will provide $23,270 through the Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme (NDRGS), the Rural City of Ararat will provide $30,000, and Glenelg Hopkins CMA will provide in-kind support totalling $42,000.

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