Byron Shire is located in a region of high annual rainfall with a pronounced wet season from December to April, but sometimes as late as 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.
Floods can occur at any time, particularly during the summer wet season. Flooding is a natural phenomenon with random characteristics that can cause damage to property and the lives and livelihoods of residents.
It is Council’s responsibility to manage flood risk in accordance with the NSW Floodplain Development Manual 2005.
The objectives of the Government’s Flood Policy are to:
- reduce the impact of flooding and flood liability on individual owners and occupiers
- reduce private and public losses resulting from floods.
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.
Council uses three tools to manage development in the floodplain:
- Local Environment Plan
- Development Control Plans
- Floodplain Management Plans
- Flood Study: Determines the nature and extent of the flood problem and flood risks.
- Floodplain Risk Management Study: Evaluates management options for the floodplain in respect to both existing and proposed development.
- Floodplain Risk Management Plan: Involves formal adoption by Council of a plan of management for a floodplain.
- 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.
The Byron Shire has four major floodplains:
Section 4 of the Byron Shire's annual State of the Environment (SoE) Report discusses floodplain management in terms of the:
- condition of floodplains
- pressures they face
- responses that are being taken to alleviate these pressures.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The floods in 2017 had a devastating impact on parts of the Byron Shire. To better manage the risk of floods in the future and minimise the risk to residents and their properties, Council has developed the new North Byron Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan.
The North Byron Floodplain Risk Management Study evaluates management options for the floodplain in respect to both existing and proposed development. Whereas, the North Byron Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan is the formal adoption by Council of a plan of management for the North Byron floodplain.
The North Byron area incorporates the Brunswick River, Marshalls Creek and Simpsons Creek catchments and includes Mullumbimby, Billinudgel, Ocean Shores, New Brighton and South Golden Beach.
For more information contact Scott Moffett, Flood and Drainage Engineer or the Development Support team on 02 6626 7000.
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.
This has been developed alongside an Emergency Dashboard, which hosts emergency information from Council, plus links to other key agencies including the SES, RFS and Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).
For more information see the Emergency Dashboard website.