The Public Exhibition of the draft Macquarie Rivulet Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan (referred to as the FRMS&P) closed 20 March 2024.

Council staff are now reviewing your feedback to determine if any changes need to be made to the draft. We'll let you know what we heard and keep you updated with the project outcome - just 'follow' this project above to receive updates.

Project Background

The draft Macquarie Rivulet Floodplain Risk Management Study & Plan is a long-term strategy for managing flood risks within the Macquarie Rivulet catchment area.

Council, with the assistance of NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (formerly known as the Department of Planning and Environment), adopted a flood study for the catchment area in 2017. The flood study looked at how flood water moves within the catchment and gave Council detailed information on flood risk.

We've since been working together with WMA Water to build on this information about flood patterns in the catchment area and come up with a plan on how we can minimise the impacts of flooding in the future. The draft plan weighs up different flood mitigation measures against a range of factors like construction feasibility, economic benefits, impacts on commercial, residential and public properties, risk to life, and reliance on the NSW SES.

The project is being managed by Council, with financial and technical assistance provided by DCCEEW. The project is being steered by the Coastal and Flood Risk Management Advisory Committee of Council, with assistance from Wollongong City Council.

Our approach

Consultation with those who live, work in or visit the study area occurred in 2020, right as we started working on the draft FRMS&P. We asked people to share their feedback about:

  • Stories and personal experiences from past flood events
  • How you would like to see flood risk managed in the area
  • How you would like to receive information about flooding
  • Ideas to reduce flood risk in your area

We were then able to use this feedback in addition to previous flood study information, records and shared experiences to identify, assess and compare flood risk management options.

Now, we've put all this information together in the draft FRMS&P and want you to tell us how we went! Make a submission with your feedback on the draft plan.

Catchment area

The Macquarie Rivulet catchment area includes Yallah, Albion Park Rail, Albion Park, Tullimbar, Calderwood and Yellow Rock making this a joint project with Shellharbour City Council and Wollongong City Council.

Study area map

Key Terms

What is a Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan?

A Floodplain Risk Management Study draws on the results of the flood study and provides information and tools to allow strategic assessment of the impacts of management options for existing, future and continuing flood risk. A Floodplain Risk Management Plan is a plan that is produced to provide input into the strategic and statutory planning roles of councils on how to best manage the flood risk.

What is the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF)?

The PMF is the largest flood that could conceivably occur. It is typically estimated from probable maximum precipitation coupled with the worst flood producing catchment conditions. While it is a rare and improbable occurrence, every property potentially affected by a PMF is considered to be on a floodplain and has some element of flood risk. Under the State Government's Floodplain Development Manual (2005), councils must consider the full range of risk when managing floodplains.

What is the 1%AEP flood event (100-year flood)?

A 1% AEP flood event (often referred to as the 100-year flood) is the flood that has a 1% probability of occurring in any given year. If you have experienced a 1% AEP flood event, it is still quite possible for you to experience another event of similar magnitude within your lifetime, as large flood events do occur randomly. Some parts of Australia have received two or three 1% AEP flood events within a few years of one another. On average, if you live to be 70 years old, you have a better than even chance of experiencing a 1% AEP flood event.

What is a Flood Study?

A flood study is a comprehensive technical investigation of flood behaviour. It defines the nature of flood risk by providing information on the extent, level and velocity of floodwaters.

What is the Defined Flood Event (DFE)?

The Defined Flood Event (DFE) is the flood event selected as the general standard for managing flood risk to development. Selecting a DFE aims to reduce the frequency of flooding but does not remove all flood risk. It also considers the projected impacts of climate change.

The DFE for the Macquarie Rivulet FRMS&P adopts the 1%AEP flood event, along with sea level rise and rainfall increases that align with climate change predictions of RCP8.5.

What is the Flood Planning Level (FPL) and Flood Planning Area (FPA)?

For the Macquarie Rivulet FRMS&P the Flood Planning Level (FPL) is the flood level of the DFE plus 0.5m freeboard. This is then used to determine the Flood Planning Area (FPA). The FPA is the area within which developments may be subject to flood related development controls.

The FPA is calculated as the area below the FPL. It should be noted there are some development types that may also have development controls higher than the FPL.

What does Australian Height Datum mean (AHD)?

Australian Height Datum is a reference of the elevation of any object or point above mean sea level, which is taken as 0m AHD. All flood levels, floor levels and ground levels are given in meters AHD.

How can I get detailed flood information for my property?

In 2005 the New South Wales Government put forward the updated Floodplain Development Manual which outlined the required method for councils to manage flood liable land. A key objective in this manual is to undertake flood studies for appropriate catchments to provide detailed information on flood behaviour.

Council has completed a number of Flood Studies and Flood Plain Risk Management Studies. The adopted studies are available on Council's website. If your property is flood affected and you require flood levels and velocities for your property, you can submit a request for flood level information to Council. Council will then provide you with property specific flood information letter that can be used to manage your risk and inform the design of your development proposal.

Why do flood levels and information need to be reviewed over time?

Flood behaviour, including flood levels, velocities and hazard is calculated using detailed computer models to simulate floods of varying magnitudes. These models may be reviewed periodically when:

  • new data becomes available from new flood events
  • flood mitigation works are undertaken
  • developments occur, and
  • more advanced computer models become available.

My property was never classified as ‘flood prone’ or ‘flood liable’ before. Why is it now classified as being flood affected?

Many parts of Shellharbour City have little or no flood data or records available at Council. Over time as new data is received and new flood studies are adopted by Council, more flood liable land will be identified and mapped accordingly. Also, under changes to the NSW Government's Floodplain Development Manual in 2005, flood liable land became inclusive of land that is affected by the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF). Before this only land inundated by the 100-year flood level was considered.

If your property is now classified as flood affected, the real world flood risks to your property is not likely to have changed; only that new information has been made available.

Will my property value be altered if my property is flood affected?

Councils floodplain management program has been ongoing now for more than 15 years. Council first adopted a flood study for Lake Illawarra in 2001. A flood study was adopted for Elliot Lake Little Lake in 2006 and again for Horsley Creek in 2011. Concerns over effects on property values were raised from residents in these catchments prior to adoption by Council, however no evidence has been presented to Council to suggest that there have been negative impacts on property values or development in these study areas.

Will I be able to get house and contents insurance if my property is flood affected?

In 2012, a standard definition of flood was agreed upon by the Insurance industry. This is now known as:

The covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from

the normal confines of:

• any lake, or any river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified; or

• any reservoir, canal, or dam.

However, Insurance companies each have their own distinctive ways in which they calculate risk and determine insurance policy premiums. Many insurance companies will offer house and contents insurance, with each individual insurance company determining their own policy and conditions.

Flood insurance premiums generally reflect the level of flood risk at a property and the cost of repairing or rebuilding the property. In practice, this can be broken down to three factors which would be assessed by all insurers when setting a flood premium for a property:

  • Likelihood of flooding;
  • Expected depth of flooding relative to the insured building; and
  • Expected cost of recovery.

Likelihood and depth of flooding are assessed at an individual address level, using results from computer flood modelling which simulates how water flows through a catchment. Expected cost of recovery includes repair, rebuild and replacement costs, temporary accommodation, and other factors such as the potential shortage of materials and labour after a flood event. Some insurers may also consider property-specific information such as number of storeys, floor levels, building materials used and construction type.

Insurance policies and conditions may change over time or between insurance companies, and you should confirm the specific details of your situation with your insurer.

Can a flood affected property be developed?

Flood affected property may be developed if the proposed development meets the relevant standards and requirements. The applicable planning controls are largely determined by the proposed land use and the extent of flooding on your property.

If my property is identified as flood prone, what development controls are likely to apply?

A Local Environmental Plan (LEP) is a legal document which allows Council to regulate land use and development. They are prepared by Council and approved by the State Government.

A Development Control Plan (DCP) provides detailed planning and design guidelines to support the planning controls in the LEP. Sections of Council's DCP provide criteria for assessing applications for properties potentially affected by flooding. The above documents are available on Council's website.

How does Council maintain its stormwater drainage network?

Council owns and manages a significant number of stormwater pits, pipes, channels, culverts, basins and Gross Pollutant traps throughout the city and we are committed to maintaining this infrastructure within the limits that current funding and resources permit. Council has an annual budget for cleaning and maintaining this infrastructure, as well as a budget for Capital Works (upgrading and building new infrastructure). All works are scheduled on a priority basis, where those works that are most critical become highest priority.

Why doesn’t Council remove the vegetation that clogs up the creeks and waterways?

Although the impact of vegetation on flood behaviour is very important, vegetation has an essential function in managing erosion and providing habitat to wildlife. Unless identified within an adopted Floodplain Risk Management Study & Plan, the flood impacts associated with the removal of vegetation from creeks and waterways is relatively unknown. For example, carrying out such works may have little to no benefit in reducing flood risks. Alternatively, such works could reduce the flood risks in one area, whilst increase it in other areas. These issues are considered in the context of a Floodplain Risk Management Study.

Past feedback

Feedback closed 18 May 2020.
You have 255 characters left.

Please provide the address or nearest crossroads of the flood-impacted area.

Previous flood events

Have you previously been affected by flooding?
You have 255 characters left.
If yes, what were the consequences?

The image could be of flood inundation, property or yard damage etc

During a flood event

Where would you go to get accurate flood information during a flood event?
How would you prefer to receive flood warning?
What sort of information would you need during a flood?

Floodplain Risk Management Measures

What trigger would cause you to evacuate?
From the list below, choose 3 measures that you consider to be the most important for managing flood risk.
What 3 outcomes are most important to you when considering flood management measures?

Structural mitigation options

Permanent or temporary levees

Levees are wall-like structures used to prevent floodwaters inundating flood-prone areas and are often constructed from earth embankments, concrete walls or sheet piles. Ongoing structural maintenance is required. Levees can only protect areas up to a certain sized flood. However, for larger floods, levees can offer additional warning time by delaying inundation. While levees may protect areas from floodwaters, they can displace this water and increase flood impacts to other areas of the floodplain. Levees may affect natural floodplain processes, such as the movement of sediment and nutrients. Levees can inhibit river and creek views and can reduce community access to waterways. Temporary levees are not suitable for areas prone to flash flooding.

How supportive are you of building flood levees?

An example image of a levee


Detention Basins

Detention basins are designed to temporarily store floodwaters during a flood event to reduce nearby flooding. Often detention basins have an outlet that can control the outflow of water. They are designed as either wet or dry detention basins and can act as multipurpose uses such as parks, sporting fields or water bodies. They are only designed to detain water up to a certain sized flood event.

How supportive are you of detention basins as a strategy to manage?

An example image of a detention basin.

Detention basin

Stormwater pipe, street gutter and drain upgrades

Upgrades of current drainage networks and the installation of new pipe networks can decrease localised flooding. They are effective flood mitigation options for small sized flood events and typically do not offer significant flood protection during larger sized flood events. However, drainage networks can disrupt natural water systems and can affect migration of aquatic species and impact the natural behaviour of the floodplain. There are installation and maintenance costs associated and these can be expensive depending on the size of the network.

How supportive are you of stormwater pipe, street gutter and drain upgrades as a strategy to manage flooding?

An example image of a street gutter

Street gutter

Landscape management

This option focuses on restoring the catchment to its natural landscape. This includes re-vegetation of the catchment, restoring flowpaths and the removal of structures that inhibit the natural floodplain behaviour. Landscape management options have numerous social and environmental benefits from landscape management such as:

  • Improved biodiversity.
  • Restoration of natural landscape.
  • Reduction in bank erosion and a decrease in silting of
  • Downstream waterways.
  • Reduction and delay of peak flows

While it is thought landscape management may significantly reduce flow for smaller size flood events, there will be little impact on larger sized flood events.

How supportive are you of landscape management as a strategy to manage flooding?

An example image of landscape management.

Landscape management

Other information

Please provide specifics such as; landmarks, crossroads etc

Please ensure you leave your preferred contact details.

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.