OPINION

Protecting our city from floods

The Fairfield SES responded to almost 100 calls during the recent rain event. Picture: Nancy Nguyen, Fairfield SES.
The Fairfield SES responded to almost 100 calls during the recent rain event. Picture: Nancy Nguyen, Fairfield SES.

While the clean-up from the floods across NSW continues, we can be thankful here in Fairfield that the flooding wasn't as bad in our suburbs as it could have been. Since the major floods of the 1980s, particularly in 1986 and 1988, council has worked hard and spent millions of dollars to protect our city from flooding.

Thanks to that work, we don't see the same level of flooding we used to, but the reality is that floods will always happen during major weather events - especially in some of our low lying areas.

Fairfield has five major creeks - Prospect Creek, Orphan School Creek, Clear Paddock Creek, Green Valley Creek and Cabramatta Creek, 12 smaller named creeks and many usually dry low-lying areas where water can gather and flow, making our city more susceptible to floods.

These creeks collect the water from 60,000 homes and 700km of road and overland runoff. Most of this water drains into the Georges River on the way to Botany Bay. Hundreds of thousands more homes, hundreds more roads and dozens more creeks drain directly into the river both upstream and downstream.

When the Georges River fills, all creeks that drain into it stop or slow down as they rise. This stops street drains emptying into the creeks, causing flooding until the water drains from further downstream.

Council has built flood detention basins that fill up during flood events to protect homes downstream, and release the water when the river empties. Some of these detention basins double as parks and sporting fields in dry weather, which is why some of them can fill up quickly in heavy rain. This system handles most rain events easily unless it becomes overwhelmed by major storm events.

There are plenty of ways you can help reduce the impact of heavy rain on your homes. Make sure your gutters and drains are kept clear. If you live in an area you know can be impacted by floods, make sure you have an emergency kit always ready. There are plenty of great tips and advice available from NSW SES at ses.nsw.gov.au. You can also call them on 132 500 for assistance with flooding or storm damage.

One of the impacts of bad weather we can't stop is the impact on our roads. Council staff worked hard during the rain to patch up potholes as they occurred to make it safer on our roads, and we are now working on applying more permanent repairs. If you see a pothole, please report it at fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/Your-Council/Report-It.