Do You Live Behind a Levee?

07/12/2018 09:42 AM

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) in conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology have produced a new flood levee education video that aims to improve community understanding about levees and encourage safe decision making during severe weather events.

“One of the things we know is that droughts tend to be broken by floods, so when it's dry it's actually the time to prepare," said Bureau of Meteorology’s Flood Services Manager (NSW & ACT), Justin Robinson.

There are more than 116 flood levees across NSW. These levees have been built to protect low lying towns from flooding. While levees reduce the risk of flooding, they do not completely eliminate it occurring. These means that during major floods people who live behind levees can still be vulnerable to their property being flooded and the possibility of deep fast flowing flood water.

"In many communities levies are a vital part of reducing the impacts of flooding, but they have limitations and it's critical people understand how they work and what those limitations are," Mr Robinson said.

The NSW annual economic cost of floods is estimated to be $200 million per year, and with around 28% of the NSW population living on the floodplain, it is important that people understand the risk of living on low lying land.

The video 'So you Live Behind a Levee' has been produced in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology and is part of a wider community engagement project conducted by NSW SES and funded by the NSW Office of Emergency Management to build community understanding of levees. The aim of the video is to explain the purpose of levees, their limitations and to broaden the community’s understanding of what level of protection levees offer.

“Sometimes we do encounter community misconceptions that levees will protect residents and businesses from all levels of flooding and that the people behind levees do not need to consider the possibility of flooding in their houses or the need for evacuations. But this is not always the case,” explains NSW SES Commissioner Mark Smethurst, “I would encourage anyone who lives or works behind a flood levee to watch the video as it provides a great explanation of its role and limitations. The video is another excellent way we can help communities who live behind a levee to be better prepared and to make safer decisions during floods.”


Learn more on how to prepare for a Flood

More information on Levees


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