Melbourne Water is using new technology to deliver better flood outcomes for the Patterson Lakes community.

The flood gates separating the tidal waterways and Town Centre Marina from Patterson River are designed to protect the area’s 1,400 residents, their properties and local roads from flooding.

The tidal gates are open during normal weather conditions so that boats can access the river, but are closed when river levels are high.

Traditionally, Melbourne Water personnel have to attend the site manually to close the gates to prevent flooding, often in the dark and during bad weather.

This process has also cost valuable time while flood waters may be making their way upstream.

Melbourne Water Automation Team Leader, Russell Riding, said a new system is currently being installed that will alleviate these problems, leading to better outcomes for the local community.

“With the new automated gates, which will become active in February, we will be able to close the gates remotely as soon as we receive an alert about potential flood conditions,” Mr Riding said.

“This instant response will mean reduced chances of flood water entering the tidal canal system as well as reducing our labour costs and improving staff safety.

“Melbourne Water has the responsibility of closing the gates as required and this system plays a vital role in protecting homes and businesses close to the River.”

The gates are only closed when water levels in the Patterson River Reach 0.65m Australian Height Datum (AHD), or when required for maintenance which occurs once every three months.

“It is difficult to predict exactly when the gates may need to be closed. Weather conditions can change suddenly, meaning we may need to quickly close the gates at any time, day or night.

“To avoid getting locked in or out by the gates, we encourage people to check the weather conditions and tide times before boating and check the water level on the marker at the gates. This can help you assess if the gates are likely to close soon.”

A number of factors can raise water levels and make gate closures more likely, including:

  • Rainfall – which increases the amount of water entering Dandenong Creek and Patterson River
  • Westerly winds – which push tides from the bay into the Patterson River
  • High tides – which can contribute to river levels when combined with rainfall and westerly winds, but generally not on their own 

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