With thousands of people living in Busselton only meters above sea level, a lot of work goes into protecting the city from flooding. 43 community members witnessed firsthand the complexity of the local drainage network on a recent bus tour of the Geographe catchment. GeoCatch organised the tour in response to community concerns over flood risk during winter.
Infrastructure managers from the Water Corporation and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation were on hand to explain how the flood protection system works, the role of flood modeling, and response measures. The bus tour visited key drainage infrastructure sites, including the Sabina River detention basin, Vasse Diversion Drain culverts, Vasse surge barrier and the sand bar at Wonnerup.
GeoCatch Chair, Dr. Felicity Bradshaw said it was important for community members to witness how the drainage puzzle pieces fit together.
“The information presented today reminds us that a lot of very dedicated people are working to keep Busselton safe from flooding. Taking community members around the catchment puts it all into perspective. With the recent rains, we were able to see how the Vasse River culverts and surge barrier work to protect Busselton,” said Felicity.
Attendees were less concerned about flood risk after seeing the strategies to protect Busselton from flooding. Confidence in the science underpinning the region’s flood protection strategy also rated very high following the tour as community members learned how modeling and ongoing monitoring is used to inform decisions.
Busselton resident Pip Newman attended to see how the constructed and natural waterways work together. “There is so much work going on behind the scenes that you don’t even know about to stop Busselton from flooding. The knowledge of all the different people working on the flood protection system is amazing,” said Pip.
Community members Deb and Milo Kadamus have recently moved to Busselton, and were keen to learn more about the waterways of the Geographe Catchment. “It was the best thing I’ve done since moving to Busselton. The management of such a complex environment, not just floods but wetlands, fish and healthy rivers and bay is amazing. The cooperation of all the groups and agencies is so inspiring. Well done everyone, we really appreciated this event,” said Deb at the end of the bus trip.
The tour was organised as a collaboration between GeoCatch, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and Water Corporation.