Flood safety funding for the Fitzroy Valley

8 July 2019

The heavy rains of the wet season in northern WA can bring serious dangers to communities in these areas. The extra rain leads to flooding of local rivers and waterways, which can have serious consequences. Royal Life Saving research has found that, on average, there are 13 flood-related drowning deaths in Australia each year and people in remote or very remote areas are at greatest risk.


In WA, 20% of all drowning deaths occurred at inland waterway locations over the last 10 years. The Kimberley region has the highest rate of fatal and non-fatal drownings of all WA regions. Aboriginal children are over-represented in drowning data, being six times more likely to die from drowning than non-Aboriginal children.  


In response to these alarming statistics, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and Royal Life Saving WA joined forces last year to plan a Flood Safety School Education project to be rolled out to the Aboriginal communities of the Fitzroy Valley. We are delighted that funding has recently been provided for this project through the joint Commonwealth-State National Disaster Resilience Program grants.  


Children from the Fitzroy Valley with Pool Manager Adele Caporn, holding their Swim and Survive certificatesChildren in the Fitzroy Valley area regularly swim and play in flooded waterways and programs to educate children about flood and river safety are integral to improving their safety. The planned Flood Safety School Education program aims to reduce the risks of flood-related injury and death among children in the region and build the community’s resilience to floods. The project is a great extension to the work currently being done by our Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool at Fitzroy Crossing, and will include working with local community school children to develop new flood safety resources and delivering a river safety skills program to students through their Swim and Survive lessons.


We look forward to working with our partners at DFES, local schools and the staff at the Fitzroy Crossing Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool to ensure that the community is prepared before the next wet season arrives!