New flood levee to protect power supply to Castlemaine community

31 March, 2023

A permanent levee to protect the Castlemaine Zone Substation from a one-in-250 year flood is now complete as part of work by Powercor to reduce the impact of the changing climate on power supplies to communities.

Powercor crews have used more than 6000 tonnes of clay to build the 2.5 metre-high and 150-metre long levee around the critical site at Elizabeth Street near Campbells Creek.

A walking path has been re-established into the levee, providing residents continuing access to public space along the creek.

Over coming weeks, Powercor will revegetate the area, guided by DJAARA Traditional Owners.

Powercor’s Head of Major Projects, Marcus Olive, said the new levee and associated flood mitigation work was designed to reduce the risk of floods even larger than what was experienced last October affecting the critical site.

“As our weather becomes more extreme and events like last October’s floods become more common, investing in measures to protect power infrastructure like Castlemaine Zone Substation is critical,” Mr Olive said.

“People rely on power and this substantial work is about reducing the risk of floods affecting supply to homes and businesses when they need it most.”

In October, Powercor turned off the Castlemaine Zone Substation for about four hours after flood waters entered the control room and made it unsafe to keep operating. By de-energising the site, we were able to reduce the safety risk to emergency services, employees and the community and minimise long-term damage to the site.

Since then, Powercor has been working closely with Mount Alexander Shire Council, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), and the DJAARA Traditional Owners to progress plans to build a permanent flood levee and complete other flood mitigation work at the site.

“We appreciate the understanding from the community as we conducted this work along the creek area, as well as the support we have received from the council, DEECA, and the DJAARA Traditional Owners,” Mr Olive said.

The Castlemaine Zone Substation supplies 12,364 customers across Maldon, Newstead, Elphinstone, Harcourt, Campbells Creek, Drummond and surrounding areas. The infrastructure was built by the SEC in the 1960s, according to records.