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New signs explain Maitland’s floodway scheme
A series of interpretive signs will be unveiled today in Maitland to help the community better understand the role of the flood mitigation scheme, the level of protection it provides, and what to do when flooding occurs.
The signs have been produced by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) as part of the community flood education program for Maitland.
CMA General Manager Fiona Marshall said ‘A recent survey revealed misconceptions in the community in regards to the level of protection provided by Maitland’s floodway scheme. The signs aim to provide the community with important information on how the scheme works, and to convey the limitations of the levee system when major flooding occurs.’
Ms Marshall said ‘The interpretive signs have been funded by the Australian and state governments Natural Disaster Mitigation Program. The signs are located near key components of the scheme including the Maitland and Lorn levees on either side of Belmore Bridge, the Power House control at Walka Water Works and the ring levee near the swimming pool in Maitland Park.
‘The scheme was initially constructed in response to frequent flooding in the 1950’s – a time of relentless flooding that caused much devastation to the city centre and suburbs, and widespread damage to rural lands. Comprising levees, spillways and floodgates, the scheme provides protection from moderate levels of flooding, as seen in June 2007, but cannot provide total protection from floods like that of 1955 – the highest and most destructive flood in the history of Maitland.’
‘The signs have been produced in partnership with the CMA and key stakeholders of the mitigation scheme - the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water and Maitland City Council. Together with the CMA these agencies continue to fund and maintain the scheme to ensure a high level of performance in times of flood.’
‘The CMA encourages local residents and business operators to view the signs, as well as visitors to the area. In particular, there is a need for flood safety messages to be conveyed to new residents that are moving into the area that may be unaware of the history of flooding on the Hunter River in Maitland and the flood risk that exists today.’
Ms Marshall said ‘While a lot has been done since 1955 to help mitigate the impact of flooding, it is important for the community to understand the level of protection provided by the levees and be aware of its limits. A flood safety kit is available free of charge, and includes a DVD with a computerised model showing how the scheme works in a flood, and what to do to prepare. The kit is available by calling the CMA on 4930 1030.’