Report vindicates Launceston's flood levee system

Published on 05 October 2017

20160606 Flood Levee

The City of Launceston's flood levee system performed above expectations during the June 2016 floods, and avoided losses of $216 million, according to an independent report released today.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research report said the upgrading of the levee system in 2014 saved the community more than four times the total investment in the levees.

"This investment in building the new levee system was found to be a sound economic decision based on the estimated costs at the time of decision making, alongside improved estimates of benefits from this study, the report states.

"The results (of the report) indicate that during the 2016 flood (a 50-year annual return interval event for the North Esk River), the construction of the levee system resulting in avoiding losses of about $216 million (had the pre-existing levees failed). The losses that would have been experienced should the old levees have failed would be approximately four times the investment  in the new levee system."

Work on the new levee system began in 2010, with a total cost - including land acquisition - of $58 million.

In June 2016, 2375 cumecs of water from the South Esk River and approximately 800 cumecs from the North Esk River resulted in the largest flood since 1969.

The levees held, limiting damage; however some unprotected homes and businesses near the Tamar =Yacht Basin, Newstead, St Leonards and Nunamara were inundated and Invermay was threatened.

The total cost of flooding, including to state and local government infrastructure, was put at $2 million.

City of Launceston Infrastructure Services director Shane Eberhardt said that while he wasn't surprised by the findings in the CRC report, it further reinforced the importance and effectiveness of the levee system to the city.

"Without doubt, the June floods would have had a much greater impact in terms of overall damage to homes and infrastructure, as well as some level of inundation across the city, had the levees not been in place and worked so effectively," Mr Eberhardt said.

The report was authored by Dr Tariq Maqsood, Martin Wehner, Dr Itismita Mohanty, Neil Corby, Mark Edwards - Geoscience Australia.

You can read the full report here: