As rains repeatedly hit New South Wales and flood victims are still reeling from four floods in 18 months, the state premier turns his attention to Japanese methods of disaster mitigation extreme weather conditions.
Concluding the first leg of his 10-day Asia trade tour, Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet will visit Ryu-Q Kan, one of the world’s largest underground drains, on Sunday before heading to South Korea for further talks. businesses focused on alternative energy sources.
Located 50 meters underground on the outskirts of Tokyo, the metropolitan area’s outer underground discharge channel acts as a gigantic water storage facility to protect Tokyo from flooding during Japan’s heavy monsoons.
Completed in 2006 at a cost of over $2 billion, the 177m long underground equilibrium reservoir has a capacity of 670,000 cubic meters.
It has five containment silos and a network of more than six kilometers of underground pipelines, each more than 10.5 m in diameter.
The reservoir collects overflow water from four rivers and makes controlled and safe discharges into the Edo River.
Earlier this month, dozens of evacuation orders affecting more than 85,000 residents in southern and western Sydney were issued as communities suffered record flooding.
“There is no doubt that these occurrences are becoming more and more common,” Mr Perrottet said at the time.
Following repeated flooding, mitigation measures have been hotly debated by officials – with the government yet to commit to any particular policy.
Suggestions put forward include storing less water in the Warragamba dam in western Sydney, improving escape routes for communities and moving people out of floodplains, including through buyouts of land.
On Saturday, the prime minister traveled from Tokyo to Hiroshima on one of Japan’s iconic bullet trains.
As well as paying tribute to the city’s Peace Memorial Park – created to mark the recovery from the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the United States – Mr. Perrottet launched the government’s $500 million budget commitment to a high-speed rail link between Newcastle and Sydney via the Central Coast.
While stressing that high-speed rail travel would not be happening ‘anytime soon’ in New South Wales, the Premier said: ‘It’s important to plan for the future and…dream about what might look like trips decades from now”.
After Ryu-Q Kan’s visit on Sunday, Perrottet will fly to Seoul where talks are expected to focus on green hydrogen and health.