Gauging river heights in next flood

ABOVE: Boats on the water during the floods at Broadwater in March. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

During the floods information about river heights are critical.

We published the story below about Broadwater residents wanting an automated river gauge to give them accurate information about the Richmond River.

BROADWATER: Our own automated river gauge would ease flood anxiety

Wardell residents want an automated river gauge too.

There is one at Woodburn and Coraki. The one at Bungawalbin has been offline since February 28.

A gauge close to Broadwater and Wardell would give those residents the information about river heights when they need it most.

Who pays for the gauge and for installing it?

The Bureau of Meteorology owns and manages one third of the 8,000 flood warning infrastructure assets across the country, with the rest owned and managed by councils, state governments and other organisations.

Flood warning infrastructure assets include both rain gauges and river height gauges.

The NSW flood warning network consists of 1,100 rain gauges and 1,151 river height gauges.

The Bureau owns 83 of the river height gauges. The remainder are owned by state government agencies including WaterNSW and Office of Environment and Heritage, local councils and private organisations.

The owner (federal, state, local government or other organisation) decides on the location of any given river gauge.

The location of river height gauges involves a combination of considerations that include: value for flood forecasting; location of other river height gauges; location of adjacent rain gauges; and physical site attributes, such as site access and resilience.

How can residents of Broadwater and Wardell advocate for their own gauges?

Richmond Valley Council have said they are not responsible for them. WaterNSW said the gauges are funded by the government.

We contacted the Office of Environment and Heritage and await their reply about the gauges.

We support the Broadwater and Wardell communities in advocating for an automated river gauge in their community so they can be better informed and better prepared for the next flood.

Flood gauge at Bungawalbin.

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