Arrangements for Flood Warning Services in Victoria
February 2001

1. Overview

Flood warning services are provided for many Victorian streams and the Murray River. These services aim to reduce the losses and hardship caused by flooding and are part of the range of risk management based flood mitigation measures.

The ARRANGEMENTS set out herein contain principles, responsibilities and cost sharing details for achieving effective development and performance of flood warning services in Victoria. They are to be used for developing, improving and managing services where it can be shown that services are required and can be supported in the short and long term. Through application of the ARRANGEMENTS flood warning services can be tailored to realistically meet the needs of the community and other key stakeholders.

The effectiveness of these services is founded on cooperation between:
  • Commonwealth (e.g. Bureau of Meteorology),
  • State (e.g. Victoria State Emergency Service, Department of Natural Resources & Environment),
  • Regional Authorities (e.g. Catchment Management Authorities, water authorities),
  • Local Government (e.g. Councils, Municipal Association of Victoria),
  • Communities (e.g. individuals, private interests, media, commercial organisations etc.).

     Benalla, 4 October 1993. The October 1993 flood affected all members of the Benalla community. Photograph, VicRoads

Benalla, 4 October 1993. The October 1993 flood affected all members of the Benalla community. Photograph, VicRoads

When applying these ARRANGEMENTS it is essential to appreciate that floods cross many boundaries and the only way flood warning services can effectively function is through acceptance of the vital role these services provide and through cooperation. As the structure of agencies change, and strategies and policies revised then so must these ARRANGEMENTS to match the prevailing times.

A key coordinating medium for achieving effective development and performance is the Victorian Flood Warning Consultative Committee (VFWCC) (Appendix 1). It is this Committee which provides coordination for the services, and prepares and updates these ARRANGEMENTS.

State flood management policy has been set through the Victoria Flood Management Strategy (extract in Appendix 2). Within the Strategy the key flood warning responsibilities are set out along with general principles, and agency responsibilities & cost sharing fundamentals. These ARRANGEMENTS reflect and build on these key flood warning responsibilities and contemporary cost sharing principle of beneficiary pays, and provide the necessary detail for providing services. Various other flood management responsibilities are stated in respective legislation, the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (Appendix 3), Regional Catchment Strategies and Floodplain Management Strategies of Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs).

Flood warning system development at the State, regional and local level will be in accordance with these ARRANGEMENTS, and will be reflected in the regional floodplain management strategy of the relevant Catchment Management Authority, and specific local needs. In some local circumstances it is more effective to provide a flood warning service by State or Local Government, or regional authority. An example of this principle is Greater Melbourne where Melbourne Water determines flood predictions and prepares the flood warnings but the warnings are issued through the Bureau.

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