Seek­ing flood an­swers from Danes

SCU re­searcher heads to Den­mark, Nether­lands to check mit­i­ga­tion strate­gies

The Northern Star - - NEWS - Clau­dia Jam­bor clau­dia.jam­bor@north­ern­star.com.au

OVER­SEAS flood man­age­ment strate­gies have been har­nessed by Lis­more re­searchers as part of up­com­ing stud­ies into flood mit­i­ga­tion on the North­ern Rivers.

South­ern Cross Uni­ver­sity’s Ken Doust re­cently trav­elled to the Nether­lands and Den­mark to ex­plore strate­gies used in the man­age­ment of coastal estuaries and river catch­ments.

Dr Doust, who is in­volved in the for­ma­tion of the Na­tional Cen­tre for Flood Re­search, said the uni­ver­sity was par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested to ex­plore us­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment to mit­i­gate against floods on the North­ern Rivers.

The trip to the Nether­lands en­abled Dr Doust to tap into the coun­try’s 21-year flood risk man­age­ment pol­icy based on mak­ing more room for rivers.

He said part of the ini­tia­tive in­volved low­er­ing levee equiv­a­lents called dykes to al­low wa­ter to spill over ear­lier and re­duce the peak of rivers dur­ing floods.

Jour­ney­ing higher up the catch­ments in the east of the Nether­lands, Dr Doust as­sessed how nat­u­ral sys­tems were be­ing used to slow the pace of flood­wa­ters rush­ing down­stream.

He an­tic­i­pated the knowl­edge from the trip would con­trib­ute to a “whole catch­ment ap­proach” to flood prepa­ra­tion by bring­ing to­gether sci­en­tific, prac­ti­cal and in­dige­nous ex­per­tise.

Pro vice chan­cel­lor of en­gage­ment Ben Roche said the strate­gies in the Nether­lands were fas­ci­nat­ing and would con­trib­ute to a “bet­ter un­der­stand­ing (about) how we can take a to­tal catch­ment view in mit­i­gat­ing and man­ag­ing floods”.

But Dr Doust said it was too early to say when the strate­gies im­ple­mented in the Nether­lands could be tested on the North­ern Rivers.

“It’s a process of think­ing things through and look­ing at dif­fer­ent pro­cesses,” Dr Doust said.

At this stage, a num­ber of fac­tors need to be ad­dressed be­fore re­search can start.

One of those fac­tors, Dr Doust said, was de­ter­min­ing how up­com­ing and on-go­ing re­search at the uni­ver­sity could ben­e­fit the na­tional cen­tre’s op­er­a­tions.

He said the goal was to have picked pri­or­ity ar­eas by next year to be­gin tri­als of man­age­ment prac­tices used abroad.

The trip to the Nether­lands en­abled Dr Doust to tap into the coun­try’s 21-year flood risk man­age­ment pol­icy based on mak­ing more room for rivers.

PHOTO: YOYOK HEN­DRIX

Flood­ing in Keen St, Lis­more, ear­lier this year.

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