FOLLOWING 10 years of drought and then two of high rainfall, the formerly drought-stricken town of Maryborough is in the unique position of needing works undertaken to shore up the walls of the Goldfields Reservoir.
The proposed flood mitigation works are estimated at $270,000 and would include widening and concreting the spillway, installing a trickle pipe to prevent the spillway from blocking, and armouring the walls of the reservoir with a concrete capping.
The proposal was made public at a Central Goldfields Shire ordinary meeting last week.
This comes after the state government in July announced funding of $89,500 to upgrade the reservoir’s boat trailer parking facilities and boat ramp.
Central Goldfields mayor Paula Nixon said that after being in drought for so long, it was unique to be strengthening the walls of the now-full reservoir.
“It’s frightening (to suddenly have to worry about flood mitigation), but at the same time, if you talk to some of the oldies in the area, we’ve just gone back to normal weather patterns.
“At the moment, with the work that consultants have done and the observations they’ve made, they feel it is fine.
“Tomorrow the walls aren’t going to fall down, it’s not going to happen, but we need to be prepared and take those steps to get it to where it needs to be.”
Cr Nixon said that while physical flood mitigation strategies were important, the emotional scars of the summer-before-last still lingered.
“We’re going into the second year and there’s still a lot of angst. If it rains a lot, people are watching the creek because all our water storage facilities are full,” she said.
“Evansford’s full, Talbot’s full and Tallarook’s full. It doesn’t even have to rain here, if it rains in Ballarat, Waubra or Creswick, that water comes through to our catchments.”
Cr Nixon said the council would undertake a Dam Break Analysis “as soon as possible” to determine what residential properties would be affected should the reservoir wall ever break.
The analysis is estimated to cost $75,000, while armouring the reservoir wall will cost $150,000.
Cr Nixon said the council would contribute to the flood mitigation project, but was hoping to obtain funding through a range of schemes including the Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme.