Questions over Sydney sprawl as Australia cleans up after floods

by | Jul 20, 2022 | World

Sydney, Australia – Nena is again cleaning and repairing her house on Sydney’s western fringe after the fourth flood in just two years.The water came from the creek that runs around her property and rose quickly.
“It sort of caught everybody by surprise,” said Nena, who preferred not to share her family name. “It was fast coming up.”
Australia’s biggest city is cleaning up after it was hit with a month’s worth of rain in five days early in July.
Coming on top of the wettest-ever start to the year, which had left the ground saturated and dams at or near capacity, the rain caused extensive floods and left some parts of the city under more than a metre (3ft) of brown, swirling water.
Many Sydney residents had also only just finished cleaning up following the previous deluge four months ago.
Now, more than 2,000 properties have been assessed for damage, with 239 found to be uninhabitable and 973 needing repairs.
Experts say the situation will only get worse as more developments are built.
“If we continue to build in highly flood-prone areas … it will get worse, because we’ve got more homes at risk of flooding, and it’ll also get worse because we’re going to have more impervious surfaces so [we will] get more flash flooding and stormwater-related flooding [as water runoff flows into creeks and rivers],” said Andrew Gissing, a risk and resilience expert at consultancy Risk Frontiers.
“It will also get worse because we’ll have sea level rise, which will increase the level of water at the bottom ends of rivers, so … it will already be high at the bottom end. And then with a warmer climate, we ca …

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