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According to recent long-term projections, large areas of Melbourne may experience flooding due to the effects of increasing sea levels.
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According to recent long-term projections, large areas of Melbourne may experience flooding due to the effects of increasing sea levels.

More than 4.7 sq km

The Victorian government has released complex modeling that predicts the possibility of inner-Melbourne and portions of Port Phillip Bay being at risk of higher sea levels and storm surges due to climate change in the next few decades.

The recently published Port Phillip Bay coastal hazard assessment revealed that the areas of Docklands and Southbank, within the Melbourne city council region, could potentially experience flooding due to a 1.1-meter increase in sea level during a rare storm-tide event with a one-in-100 chance of occurring.

According to a report by the Age, an analysis revealed that a quarter of the Port Phillip council area, encompassing St Kilda, Albert Park, and South Melbourne, could potentially experience inundation under the given scenario.

The likelihood of flooding is heightened during heavy rainfalls and if the sea level rises by 1.4 meters by 2100.

A map from the Victorian government showing storm tide inundation in an one-in-100 chance event

Approximately 4% of the total council area in Geelong, which covers 47 square kilometers, may be vulnerable to flooding due to a potential 1.4-meter increase in sea level.

A state government-commissioned study has identified potential risks for coastal communities located on Port Phillip Bay. The study utilized modeling, analysis, and maps to pinpoint areas in bayside communities that are vulnerable to coastal hazards. This is particularly concerning as 1.3 million Victorians reside in these coastal areas.

However, Victoria’s Minister for the Environment, Steve Dimopoulos, stated on Thursday that it is crucial to avoid being “fear-mongering” about the findings of the report.

He stated that this is a long-term report covering the next 80 years, not a short-term report for the next five minutes.

I am not asking the community to become agitated or worried, instead I am simply requesting that they stay informed and collaborate with land managers and us to implement measures to mitigate the situation.

Dimopoulos stated that the government has already provided funding to councils in the bay area to implement their own measures for reducing risks. He highlighted the government’s substantial investment of $140 billion in coastal mitigation strategies, including the construction of sea walls, since 2014.

The risk evaluation examined the effects of sea level rise, flooding, erosion, and increasing groundwater levels on the surrounding communities of the bay.

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A map from the Victorian government showing storm tide inundation with extreme rainfall

The research revealed that the regions most vulnerable to flooding in Port Phillip Bay include Point Lonsdale, Queenscliff, Swan Bay, and Portarlington in the south-west; Werribee and Altona in the north-west; Southbank and Port Melbourne to Elwood in the north; and Mordialloc, Patterson Lakes, and Martha Cove in the east and south-east.

The report is expected to ignite a discussion about potential modifications to planning and the implementation of inundation overlay in Victoria. In a statement earlier this week, the premier, Jacinta Allan, acknowledged that climate change-induced flooding and severe weather occurrences necessitate the consideration of optimal areas for new residential developments.

She informed ABC that what was once considered a rare occurrence happening once every 100 years for cities like Rochester, has now happened three times in the span of 10 or 11 years.

The reports were created by agencies, such as CSIRO, separate from the government.

According to the CSIRO report, the primary danger confronting coastal communities globally is the increase in sea levels.

The report stated that increasing sea levels could potentially diminish the efficacy of defense structures such as sea walls and marinas. It also concluded that a greater sea-level rise could be attributed to more powerful tides, larger waves, and fluctuations in groundwater levels.

Source: theguardian.com