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Feedback sought on State’s first plan to reduce impact and flood risk in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley

Nsw Ses Members During The 2022 Floods
Members of the nsw ses hills unit during the july 2022 floods © nsw ses hills unit

Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley residents are being encouraged to have their say and join a new community panel to help work underway to reduce the risk and impact of future floods in the region.

The Valley is in one of the most dangerous floodplains in Australia. It is often compared to a bathtub – one with five ‘taps’ flowing in and only one drain. Between 2020 and 2022, the area flooded six times. The extreme depth of floods in the Valley means that large numbers of people often need to evacuate at short notice before roads out are cut off.

The state’s disaster preparedness and recovery agency, the NSW Reconstruction Authority (RA), is leading the work to reduce the risk and impact of floods through the state’s first regional Disaster Adaptation Plan (DAP).

A key direction in the State Disaster Mitigation Plan, the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley DAP will investigate infrastructure options to better support communities as well as strategies and ways to improve flood awareness and preparedness.

Nsw Ses Hawkesbury Unit
Members of the nsw ses hawkesbury unit delivering essential groceries and nappies out to a family in tuckerman road during the july 2022 floods © nsw ses hawkesbury unit

Disaster risk reduction requires a coordinated, place and community-centred approach. Local or regional DAPs will help communities become more aware and prepared and inform future planning processes, and rebuilding and reconstruction efforts after a disaster occurs.

DAPs will be developed by the RA, councils, Aboriginal landowners and other organisations with the RA currently developing DAP Guidelines and Framework to help guide these place-based plans.

The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley stretches from Brooklyn to Wallacia and Wisemans Ferry. It covers land in the Hawkesbury, Hills, Blacktown, Penrith, Central Coast, Wollondilly, Liverpool and Hornsby local government areas. The high-priority DAP will cover the whole region, spanning all 8 LGAs.

The NSW Government has been working in the Valley for many years to understand the impact of floods and to reduce risk to life and property.

There is no single solution to reduce the impact of floods in the Valley, so the DAP will include a range of options to reduce risk where it can and adapt to that risk where it can’t be reduced.

Nsw Ses Streeton Lookout
The view of the richmond lowlands from the streeton lookout at freeman’s reach on march 2022 © nsw ses hawkesbury unit

The DAP is being developed in partnership with the community, councils, government agencies, emergency services and technical specialists and will be delivered by mid-2025.

RA is keen for people who live or work in the Valley to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences with floods to help shape the DAP.

Community members can visit a dedicated Have Your Say page to share their views and express interest in joining the new Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley DAP community panel. 

Nsw Ses Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood
Hawkesbury-nepean valley is often regarded as a “bathtub,” with at least five tributaries and choke points in wallacia, castlereagh, and sackville © nsw ses hawkesbury-nepean valley

NSW Reconstruction Authority Deputy CEO Simone Walker said:

“Floods in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley have devastated communities, homes and businesses, and we know people will only face more and worse impacts if nothing changes.

“This critical work will provide strategies and actions to make sure people living and working in the Valley are safe and better prepared.

“Now more than ever, it’s important that the NSW Reconstruction Authority meets the challenges of the future with a plan to reduce the costs and impacts of floods on communities.

“Community input is vital to this work and the RA is seeking feedback to help us develop ways to better prepare for, and recover from, future floods.”

NSW Reconstruction Authority Head, Adaptation Mitigation & Reconstruction, Amanda Leck, said:

“The risk of future floods in the Valley is ever present and needs to be taken seriously.”

“Being informed will save lives – there’s no simple solution to flooding in the Valley but we are making sure people are as prepared as they can be.”

“This DAP will also be a key tool for our leading emergency services, including the NSW SES, who put their lives on the line when floods unfold.”

“The NSW Reconstruction Authority wants to reduce flood risk where we can and adapt where we can’t. I encourage everyone across the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley to share what they think their regional DAP should look like.”

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