Structures likely to alter the flow of floodwater on or across a floodplain are called flood works. Flood works can alter the flow of floodwater and cause social, economic, environmental, and cultural impacts. Ensuring flood works comply with the rules allows these impacts to be managed appropriately.
Over several decades, changes to legislation, policy and the development of floodplain management plans have resulted in many unapproved flood works in the northern NSW Murray-Darling Basin. These structures include levees, embankments, above-ground storage, and access roads.
To manage the impacts of these structures, flood works must meet the rules of the appropriate floodplain management plans.
More than 100 priority areas have been identified in the five northern Murray-Darling Basin valleys of Border Rivers, Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie and Barwon-Darling.
Within each area, there may be one or several flood work structures, with some unapproved and some approved.
The priority areas were selected after an extensive assessment. The prioritisation process identified those locations where action under the program could produce the most benefit for floodplain connectivity. Prioritisation included analysis of hydraulic, ecological, and cultural impact. These impacts were assessed as part of a multi-criteria analysis.
As the program progresses, additional areas of concern may be prioritised for possible inclusion and for the notice of NRAR (Natural Resources Access Regulator).
Work has begun in priority areas. Landholders are being contacted to collect initial information and assess the compliance situation of each flood work.
Where a flood work can be modified to make it legal, the program will provide technical support to assist the landholder with preparing an application for approval. Application fees will be waived.
If a flood work cannot be modified to make it legal, it must be removed. NRAR will oversee the removal. Landholders will be responsible for all construction costs related to either the modification or removal of the structure.
More information on how priority flood works will be brought into compliance is available in the Improving Floodplain Connections: Decision support principles and processes fact sheet. PDF, 199.99 KB
This fact sheet provides information for landholders on the separate stages of the program, including the initial assessment, site inspection by NRAR, and the assessment to determine the pathway to compliance. This fact sheet also explains the different roles of the department, NRAR and WaterNSW.
How we will communicate with you
We are committed to keeping stakeholders updated about the Improving Floodplain Connections program and how it might impact them. We will provide regular general updates and be in touch at specific times during the program. Landholders with flood works located within priority areas will also receive direct communication.
|Valley||Stage 1: preliminary assessment||Stage 2: consultation||Stage 3: removal/modification|
|Border Rivers (pilot)||Q3 2022 - Q2 2023||Q1–Q2 2023||Q1 2023 – ongoing|
|Gwydir||Q1–Q2 2023||Q1–Q4 2023||Q3 2023 – ongoing|
|Barwon-Darling||Q1–Q2 2023||Q1–Q4 2023||Q3 2023 – ongoing|
|Macquarie||Q1–Q4 2023||Q3 2023–Q2 2024||Q1 2024 – ongoing|
|Namoi||Q1–Q4 2023||Q3 2023–Q2 2024||Q1 2024 – ongoing|
Funding the program
The Improving Floodplain Connections program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth Government ($10.196 million) and the NSW Government ($1.08 million). It is being delivered by the Department of Planning and Environment, NRAR and WaterNSW, in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries.