Seas may surge into Bega Valley’s coastal towns

According to a climate change research organisation, seas may rise to cover parts of Bermagui, Tathra, Merimbula and Eden in the future. 

The Surging Seas Risk Zone Map by US-based Climate Central shows areas vulnerable to flooding from different combinations of sea level rise, storm surge, tides and tsunamis, or vulnerable to permanent submersion by long-term sea level rise.

A map of Bermagui shows parts of Lamont and Bunga Streets are vulnerable to flooding, while in Merimbula part of the airport, Fishpen Rd and Beach St could become submerged. 

In Eden, water may cross some of Aslings Beach Rd while in Tathra the sea could rise threateningly close to Andy Poole Drive, possibly swamping the family park Tathra Beachside. 

In their Climate Change Strategy, Bega Valley Shire Council stated they sought to implement policy and programs that reduced council’s contribution to climate change while also adapting to the impacts of climate change. 

In the strategy, council said it supported local group Clean Energy for Eternity’s goal for 50 per cent energy reduction and 50 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

However, CEFE’s founder and president Matthew Nott said due to the current political environment he believed this target was unattainable. 

“I think with a supportive government and community onside, Clean Energy for Eternity could demonstrate a lot of achievements,” he said.

“An example of that is the Tathra Solar Farm, a $100,000 project that went from conception to the ground in 12 months due to the strong support from the community and local government.

“The local support was ignited by a bunch of extremely hardworking volunteers who run the Tathra Enduro Mountain Bike Race,” Dr Nott said. 

“Our [50/50 by 2020] targets would be achievable if we had this level of support from the state and federal governments.

“But in the current political environment, I believe they are unachievable.”  

Dr Nott said it might take 50 years or longer for sea levels to rise due to climate change, but “the inevitable impact of that is plunging values for coastal real estate”.

“That is going to have a big impact on this region very soon,” he said. 

In its Climate Change Strategy, council states it also aims to reduce greenhouse emissions from council buildings, streetlighting and infrastructure by 20 per cent on 2012-13 levels and generate 20 per cent of renewable energy at their top 15 sites by 2020.

For more information on Surging Seas, click here

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