Tumbulgum resident Steve Smith watches as Council sign-writer Izaak Togo demonstrates how to unfold the village flood signs.
Tumbulgum resident Steve Smith watches as Council sign-writer Izaak Togo demonstrates how to unfold the village flood signs.

'In your face' flood warning signs for village

TUMBULGUM residents have now got the ability to post their own Flood Watch and Flood Warning signs at the three entrances to the village.

Resident and member of Tweed Shire Council's Floodplain Management Committee Steve Smith said it was believed to be the first community in Australia to be empowered to post Flood Watch and Flood Warning signs on the advice of the Bureau of Meteorology and State Emergency Service.

"The signs are exactly what we wanted," Mr Smith said.

"They are in your face."

 

Aerial photos of areas affected by flood waters after torrential rain in 2017. The township of Tumbulgum.
Aerial photos of areas affected by flood waters after torrential rain in 2017. The township of Tumbulgum.

 

When the Bureau issues Flood Watch or Flood Warning advice, the Tumbulgum Community Association and Tumbulgum Community Action Team (CAT) - set up after the March 2017 flood to help build community self-reliance and flood resilience - will act on that advice and unfold the signs built into all three village entrance signs.

"It's all about helping the community plan and keeping people safe," co-ordinator of the village CAT Sandy Copley said.

Tumbulgum has worked hard to help the community plan for flood events since the March 2017 flood.

The signs are part of a community project that won the Flood Risk Management Project of the Year Award announced at the Floodplain Management Australia Conference in 2019, receiving $10,000 prize money from NRMA Insurance.

 

Murwillumbah Rugby Union players Sean Dell and Damien Boyle join the Mud Army to assist families of Tumbulgum after flood waters rose when the Tweed River broke its banks during the heavy rain in 2017. Photo Scott Powick Daily News
Murwillumbah Rugby Union players Sean Dell and Damien Boyle join the Mud Army to assist families of Tumbulgum after flood waters rose when the Tweed River broke its banks during the heavy rain in 2017. Photo Scott Powick Daily News

 

The joint project developed and implemented a new flood warning service and response plan for Tumbulgum, where the Tweed and Rous rivers meet, enabling the community to enact its own flood evacuation plan and leave the area before evacuation routes are blocked.

The signs were designed and installed by Council as part of that project.

After the March 2017 flood, Council received $46,000 under the Commonwealth and NSW Government funded Floodplain Grant Scheme to incorporate the Tumbulgum gauge into the Bureau of Meteorology flood warning network.

It is that work that has now enabled the community to be in charge of posting Flood Watch and Flood Warnings signs on the advice of the Bureau and SES.

For information on flooding the Tweed, visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/Flooding.