Federal Government and City of Busselton commit money for storm surge protection

Joint project: City director of engineering Oliver Darby, MP for Forrest Nola Marino, City director of planning Paul Needham and Mayor Grant Henley welcome the flood mitigation project with the federal government. Picture: Supplied.
Joint project: City director of engineering Oliver Darby, MP for Forrest Nola Marino, City director of planning Paul Needham and Mayor Grant Henley welcome the flood mitigation project with the federal government. Picture: Supplied.

A flood mitigation project costing $7 million will build emergency plans, model the impact of potential flooding, and build protective infrastructure in Busselton.

The federal Coalition committed money in its pre-election budget as part of its Federal Preparing Australian Communities Program.

The project is equally funded by the federal government and the City of Busselton with the aim to mitigate the risk of coastal flooding typically associated with tropical cyclone storm surges to regional Busselton.

It comes after property market analyst RP Data Core Logic released a paper in March finding that Dunsborough, West Busselton and Broadwater were among the top five WA suburbs with the highest estimated total property value at risk to coastal erosion.

The data predicted that across the three suburbs, 259 individual homes are at risk of 'significant' damage caused by coastal erosion or storm surges in the next 30 - 60 years.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the flood mitigation project was part of the City's 2020-2030 Coastal Management Program, and will adapt the coast along the Geographe Bay foreshore to flood risk over the next 10 years.

"It will enhance our emergency response preparedness through early warning systems, and provide physical barriers to protect against storm surges," Mayor Henley said.

The City said the plans would include the installation of a real-time seabed wave and water level recorder offshore near the Busselton Jetty, to help the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) improve storm surge predictions.

Federal member for Forrest Nola Marino said the project would lift the resilience of the Busselton community.

According to the bureau, storm surges are abnormal rises in sea level above the normal tide levels, due to the presence of a storm.

The plans will include a detailed coastal survey to provide an up-to-date bathymetry (depth measurements) for tropical cyclone flood modelling.

Plans will also see vegetation and fauna surveyed, on sand dunes as part of 'dune resilience' works.

Based on the modelling, the final component of the project will focus on building infrastructure like coastal levees in vulnerable areas of Busselton.

The project in Busselton is one of 158 other projects to receive the commitment to improve resilience of communities against natural disasters, under the Preparing Australian Communities Program.