Bass Coast,

Flooding In Bass Coast

Bass Coast Shire has experienced unusually heavy rainfall this month, following on from above average rainfall in August. Phillip Island saw over 90mm of this, including 55mm in one day, almost reaching the average September rainfall in less than 24 hours.

This torrential rain has caused flooding across the region, including in a number of areas that aren’t usually prone to inundation.

Bass Coast Shire Council Infrastructure Director, Felicity Sist, said many of the areas currently affected have no formal drainage.

“Planning standards at the time of building allowed estates to be built with no or incomplete underground drainage. For example Surf Beach, Smiths Beach, Pioneer Bay, Tenby Point and Cape Paterson,” Ms Sist said.

“Some of these estates, including Silverleaves, parts of Rhyll and Inverloch, rely on absorption or shallow surface drains; however the changing nature of the estates, such as bigger houses and less garden area to absorb water, combined with the changing nature of the storms being experienced in recent times means that that this is not as effective.”

“The water flows away after time for most; however tide levels can affect the ability of the estates to drain.”

Ms Sist said some of these estates have been built in very low-lying areas, and the solutions to flooding are quite complex, requiring creation of outfalls and working with Melbourne Water to create outfalls through drainage schemes. Council is currently working with Melbourne Water to look at some of the issues with these estates; however this fixes are likely to take much time.

“Estates being constructed now are required to have the appropriate level of infrastructure put in by developers, and people that purchase the blocks on the new estates have paid for this infrastructure through the purchase prices of the land,” Ms Sist said.

“Some estates have recently have drainage systems installed through special charge schemes, with recent examples including Pine and Churchill Estate in Cowes, and South Dudley Estate Special Charge scheme.”

The Land Subject to Inundation Overlay is a tool to enable better planning about the impacts of storm surges, high tides or increased rain. Council resolved to extend the area of the Shire covered by this overlay in August. Once implemented into the Bass Coast Planning Scheme, the overlay will provide a signal to land owners and developers about the need to plan for the impacts of these events.

If you are experiencing severe inundation, please call the State Emergency Services on 132 500.