Funding to automate floodgates at Longford's Back Creek is expected to be included in the coming Northern Midlands council budget, with discussion also having taken place about future levee raises and the need to consider the effects of climate change.
To protect the flood-prone town, the council and community committed to building the Longford flood levee, completed in 2007. The levee now protects the area at the northern end to the level of a 1-in-100-year event.
However, when the floodgates are closed rain falling in and around the town - along with flows into Back Creek, which drains a large area of farmland to the south towards Cressy - leaves Longford vulnerable.
This situation is one the automation of the floodgates would work to mitigate, according to Northern Midlands council mayor Mary Knowles.
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"Part of the issue is, when the water down the South Esk rises, it backs up Back Creek," Cr Knowles said. "Now there's a set of floodgates there ... but it's very important that they are put in at the correct time."
"You can't put it in when the water's too low and you can't put it in when the water's too high. It's a very fine line. We'll have people there as well, so that it's all done correctly and nobody can make a mistake."
Funding would be included in the 2019-20 budget deliberations as "we already know that's got to happen".
With the levee at Back Creek slightly lower, Cr Knowles said the council had also considered future raising works - though with an automated gate this would not be an issue.
She added the council would continue to monitor as usual and seek further funding allocations if necessary, but also needed to be "risk aware" to the impact climate change would have.
"Council's now no linger can just count on and plan for the 1-in-100 year event, they've also got to include climate change in their deliberations," Cr Knowles said.
"But the thing to keep that area as safe as possible is to automate those gates, and that's what we want to get done."
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