Carnarvon’s big wet mitigated by 2014 flood levee project

The West Australian shires of Carnarvon, Upper Gascoyne and Derby-West Kimberley will get disaster assistance funding after last week’s heavy rain.

A tropical low dumped up to 200mm of rain along the WA coast causing widespread damage to roads, including the North West Coastal Highway.

Affected communities in the three shires will be eligible to receive financial assistance through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Western Australian Minister for Emergency Services Francis Logan said the low has caused the most significant flooding the Shire of Carnarvon has seen in over a decade.

However, property damage in the town itself appears to have been limited by flood levees built after heavy rains in December 2010 and January 2011.

That flooding a decade ago devasted the town’s horticultural industry, with losses estimated at about $90 million.

There were also significant flow-on effects for the WA economy as Carnarvon’s orchards and plantations supply 60-70 percent of Perth’s winter fruit and vegetables.

A flood mitigation plan, with works comprising five levees of about 16km in length along the Lower Gascoyne River, was subsequently prepared.

Main Roads WA project-managed the construction work on behalf of the state Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the WA Department of Lands, the Department of Water, and the Shire of Carnarvon.

The project was completed by mid-2014 at a cost of about $62 million, with $2 million set aside for ongoing maintenance.