The city of Tamworth was established in the early 1800’s, with floods causing difficulties for local residents and business almost immediately. Whilst the 1864 flood is referred to as “probably Tamworth’s worst” there have been other major floods during 1955 and 1962, as well as significant floods during virtually every decade.
A levee was built in the 1930’s to protect the Tamworth Central Business District (CBD). This was raised several times during the 1970’s after widespread flooding across NSW raised concerns over the risk of larger floods.
In recent years a Western Levee has been constructed to protect residential and industrial properties along Goonoo Goonoo Rd and the Taminda Industrial Area.
There are also a number of private levees that have been built over the years. These levees generally only protect from minor floods, and may not have been built to high standards of engineering, but still contribute to the overall protection of property in the district.
Tamworth Regional Council continues to be committed to reducing risks to life and property through flooding. They are currently undertaking studies into flooding risks in the towns of Nundle, Manilla and Barraba, as well as the village of Woolomin. These studies are expected to be completed during 2010 and will provide recommendations on improvements that can be made to flood management in the region.
Flood Safety in Tamworth Region
Floods are a significant risk to Tamworth and surrounding districts. This was seen during the recent floods of November 2008, when intense rainfall caused a rapid rise in local rivers and creeks, with widespread property damage.
Residents should remember that the SES is the government agency that is responsible for response in flood, and they should be contacted first if there is any risk to life or property from flood waters.
Special care should be taken near floodwaters, as the depth and speed of the water can change quickly. In particular:
- don’t drive through flood waters – as flood waters rise, a vehicle can start to float and is very easily washed downstream
- never swim in flood water – with sudden changes in depth and speed, it is very easy to be pushed along by flood waters. Whirlpools, snags and turbulence can be fatal
- always follow the instructions of the emergency services – they may have to start an evacuation several hours before the peak of the flood waters arrive. Whilst the danger may not be apparent to you at the time, it is important to understand that the SES has access to up to date information about what is happening up stream and what the risks are
For more information about what to do in a flood, please visit the State Emergency Services website.