Funding and management

Office of Environment and Heritage provides funding for and manages capital works and maintenance of the structures that make up the flood mitigation scheme.

The scheme assets are owned by the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation and are managed under delegation by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). Scheme assets are located on private land.

Hunter Local Land Services contributes to the maintenance budget, as required by the Water Management Act 2000. This Act repealed the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme Act 1956.

Hunter Local Land Services' share is funded by the Hunter Catchment Contributions. Local government ratepayers in the Hunter catchment pay an annual levy, known as Hunter catchment contributions. Local councils also provide a small contribution. Chapter 5 Public Works – Part 2 of the Water Management Act refers directly to Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation works. Works are approved under Part 5 of the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

OEH is responsible for all maintenance activities of scheme assets. Maintenance activities include:

  • levee mowing
  • spraying of aquatic and terrestrial weeds
  • cleaning of drains
  • floodgate repairs.

In some cases, drainage channels extend beyond OEH's jurisdiction and OEH has no authority to undertake any works in these areas.

OEH also contracts other agencies and organisations to do work on their behalf. This can include project design and management, construction work, assessment of environmental factors and stakeholder engagement.

Over 2000 individual assets are maintained along the rivers and floodplains.

Levee

An embankment providing a reduction in in flood damages to towns in moderate and major flood events and the rural areas in minor events.

Drainage Channel (or drains)

Control discharge of floodwaters from the river spilling into defined floodways.

Control and diversion banks

Reduce the potential damage by controlling the speed, direction and depth of floodwaters. These are located on the Bolwarra, Oakhampton, Swan Reach and Raymond Terrace floodways.

Floodgate

Prevents backflow from the river as water levels rise during flood events and releases water from drains and creeks after flood waters recede.

Floodway

Part of the natural floodplain allowing diversion of floodwaters away from the main river channel during a flood and which is often a naturally defined channel. If these areas are blocked they can cause a significant change in flood flow, direction and levels, affecting other areas.

Bank stabilisation and protection works

Protection works stabilise and protect surrounding river banks from erosive flood waters, which in turn protects the levee assets.

River or stream banks without vegetation will continue to be unstable if the toe of the bank, where the levee meets the original surface foundation, continues to wash away.

Vegetation within the levee protected zone is limited to grass or low ground coverage. OEH does not permit planting of trees or shrubs within the protected zone.