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Floodplain management

Byron Shire is located in a region of high annual rainfall with a pronounced wet season from December to April, but sometimes as late June or July. During this season, the region is susceptible to the effects of cyclonic activity to the north which can bring torrential rain to the area.

Flooding is a natural phenomenon with random characteristics. Floods of any size can occur at virtually any time, particularly during the summer wet season. Floods can cause damage to property and affect the lives, livelihoods and life-styles of residents.

Floodplain management aims to reduce the impact of floods on individuals and the community as a whole. This requires an integrated approach which takes into account the risk and consequences of flooding as well as the social and environmental issues relating to flooding and flood mitigation/management.

The Byron Shire has four major floodplains; these are the Tallow Creek Floodplain, Belongil Creek Floodplain, Brunswick River Floodplain and Marshalls Creek Floodplain.

To find out what is happening in each floodplain, what is planned for the future or what documents are available relevant to a particular floodplain, follow the links above.

Pictures from previous floods can be viewed on the flood events photo gallery.

Emergency management

The State Emergency Service is the lead agency for emergency management during flood events, for more information visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au.

Information regarding road closures, possible risks to the public or any damage during flood event can be passed onto the Byron Shire Council Works Depot by phoning 02 6685 9300.

Road closures

During flood events, Council monitors the shire roads and updates road closures at MyRoadInfoYou can also find road closure information on nearby regions.

Flood Information Sheet:

Council has a free Flood Information Sheet which contains information regarding the following issues:

  • Preparing a home emergency kit for floods and storms
  • Your home emergency plan
  • What to do now
  • When there is a flood warning
  • If you need to evacuate
  • After the flood has arrived
  • How the SES can help you
  • How your Council helps
  • Links to other sources of information.

The NSW SES FloodSafe website is also great resource for before, during and after flood events - www.floodsafe.com.au

Flood risk management and development in the floodplain

Council manages flood risk management in accordance with the NSW Floodplain Development Manual 2005, in consultation with the Office of Environment and Heritage.

The primary objective of the Government’s Flood Policy is to reduce the impact of flooding and flood liability on individual owners and occupiers and to reduce private and public losses resulting from floods. The Policy requires that a merit approach be followed when dealing with planning, development and building on flood-liable land.

Council uses three tools to manage development in the floodplain; The Local Environment Plan, Development Control Plans and Floodplain Management Plans.

Floodplain Management Plans are prepared in accordance with the NSW Floodplain Development Manual 2005. The table below describes the floodplain risk management process and further information can be found in the NSW Floodplain Development Manual 2005.

1 Flood Study Determines the nature and extent of the flood problem and flood risks.
2 Floodplain Risk Management Study Evaluates management options for the floodplain in respect of both existing and proposed development.
3 Floodplain Risk Management Plan Involved formal adoption by Council of a plan of management for a floodplain.
4 Implementation of the Plan Construction of flood mitigation works to protect existing development.  Use of Development Control Plans and Local Environmental Plans to ensure new development is compatible with the flood hazard.

Follow the links at the top of the page for each floodplain to find out which stage a particular floodplain is currently at.

For further information on flood levels for developments and developing on flood prone land, contact Council Development Engineers on 02 6626 7000.

State of Environment Report

Section 4 of The Byron Shire's annual State of the Environment (SoE) Report discusses floodplain management in terms of the condition of floodplains, the pressures they face and the responses that are being taken to alleviate these pressures.

For more information read the 'Catchment Management' section of Council's State of the Environment.

Flood warning system

Council has a flood warning system which provides the Bureau of Meteorology, SES and Council with rainfall and creek level data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

You can find out more information about rainfall at the Bureau of Meteorology  http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/flood/ or about climate and past weather at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/.

Acid sulfate soils

‘Acid sulfate soils are widespread along the margins of the NSW coast, in estuarine floodplains and coastal lowlands; including urban areas, farmland, mangrove tidal flats, salt marshes and tea-tree swamps. These soils include those that are producing acid (actual acid sulfate soils) and those that could become acid producing (potential acid sulfate soils).

More information on Acid Sulphate Souls can be found at Office of Environment and Heritage - Acid sulphate soils or Council's LEP and DCP.

If you would like further information regarding Flood Risk Management, contact Council’s Flood and Drainage Engineer on 02 6626 7000 or email to council@byron.nsw.gov.au.

Climate Change

Council is considering the effects of Climate Change in all current and future flood risk management projects. For further information on Council's Climate Change Policy.

Other information can be found at Adapting to sea level rise - Department of Planning NSW and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Disclaimer:

  1. Flood study’s only apply to areas within the designated "Hydraulic Model Boundary". They apply to river flooding only and do not apply to local stormwater catchment flooding.
  2. The approximate extent of land liable to flooding has been based on survey data available at the time of preparation. These include but are not limited to survey based on aerial photography and aerial laser scanning. Conditions may have changed since that time. The extent of flooding for individual properties can only be determined by a licensed surveyor.
  3. Studies and associated maps have been prepared using the best available data and computer modelling and mapping techniques. However, the accuracy of the study and maps is not absolute and reflects only the accuracy of the data and the techniques used. Byron Shire Council does not warrant that this study and associated maps are definitive nor free from error and do not accept liability for any loss caused or arising from reliance upon information provided herein. Byron Shire Council does not warrant that individual properties not shown on these maps as inundated, are not flood liable.
  4. Local increases in flood levels, depths and/or velocities from local factors such as drain blockages and obstructions to overland flow path such as fences, buildings and cars may change the results presented.
  5. The base of the maps associated with the study is cadastre only and does not strictly represent the location, extent or even existence of actual roads.