Floodplain Management Process

City of Coffs Harbour continually works to update and improve our understanding of flood risk and reduce the impact of flooding following the NSW Government's guidelines for managing floodplains.

There are four main steps in the Floodplain Management Process;

  1. Flood Study. This looks to identify flood behaviour including the areas previously flooded, water depth, hazard and the likelihood of flooding within the area.
  2. Floodplain Risk Management Study. This builds on the flood study to look at how flooding will affect the community and identifies ways to reduce the impact of flooding
  3. Floodplain Risk Management Plan. The plan includes preferred flood mitigation options to be put into place to manage flood risk across the catchment. These options are adopted council
  4. Plan Implementation. Following planning, the adopted options are then put into place. The adopted options can include mitigation works, drainage upgrades, development controls, community awareness and emergency response arrangements

These types of studies are normally carried out under State Government guidelines and are funded on a 2:1 basis between the State Government and councils. This funding arrangement is also available for the construction of flood mitigation works as part of the plan implementation.

Why do councils prepare floodplain management studies and plans?

Under NSW legislation, councils have the primary responsibility for management of development within floodplains. The flood studies and floodplain risk management studies and plans provide us with sound flood information and data to use in the development of strategic documents and planning controls.

To manage the flood risk to the community the floodplain management plans normally comprise a range of works and measures such as;

  • improvements to flood warning and emergency management;
  • works (e.g. levees or detention basins) to protect existing development;
  • ·voluntary purchase or house raising of severely flood-affected houses;
  • planning and building controls to ensure future development is compatible with the flood risks; and
  • measures to raise the community's awareness of flooding so that they are better able to deal with the flood risks they face.

The advantages to both the City of Coffs Harbour and the community in having the floodplain management studies and plans in place are:

  • Having a proper basis for managing and using flood prone land to provide a balance between danger to personal safety and economic losses due to flooding, and social, ecological and cultural interests;
  • Optimising community infrastructure;
  • Minimising personal danger to residents, visitors and emergency response personnel and community flood damage;
  • Strategically assessing catchments so that the impacts of development on flooding and flooding on development can be effectively considered.