Flood risk in New South Wales results in significant impacts. Flooding causes severe economic damage and emotional distress. Flooding in urban and rural NSW costs our economy about $250 million each year, and the human impact is greater still.

Local government in NSW has the primary responsibility for controlling the development of flood-prone land, but the NSW Government, through the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the State Emergency Service (SES), also has an important role to play in managing the flood risk across the state.

OEH has a number of key roles in this area. These roles relate to:

  • Development of flood policy, including the NSW Government’s Flood Prone Land Policy and Floodplain Development Manual 2005 and associated technical and operation policy to aid councils in the management of flood risk. This involves interaction with a range of State and Commonwealth agencies, local government and the floodplain risk management industry.
  • Working with local councils to better manage flood-prone land in coastal areas and urban communities in inland NSW. OEH does this by providing funding and technical assistance for the preparation and implementation of floodplain risk management plans through the State Government’s Floodplain Management Program.
  • Rural floodplain management planning within floodplains designated under Part 8 of the Water Act 1912 (to be replaced by provisions within the Water Management Act 2000) - OEH prepares statutory floodplain management plans under the Water Act that set out schemes for the management of floodwaters. These plans, developed in consultation with local farming communities help to provide farmers with knowledge about their risk exposure and examine ways they can manage this risk while maintaining the flooding regimes to waterways and flood-dependent ecosystems. Licensing of works and compliance functions under Part 8 of the Water Act 1912 (to be replaced by provisions within the Water Management Act 2000) are the responsibility of the NSW Office of Water (NOW), which uses rural floodplain management plans as the basis for assessing works applications.
  • Managing the provision of river gauging networks across the State to enable the delivery of flood warnings to NSW communities. These gauging systems enable the Bureau of Meteorology to provide flood predictions to the State Emergency Service to enable it to issue flood warnings to the residents of NSW. These warnings enable people to react appropriately to flooding as it occurs. This reduces the danger of flooding to the community and individuals and may provide them an opportunity to reduce their flood damage through appropriate and timely actions.


Page last updated: 02 May 2011