Know Your Risk
Are you at risk? If you live close to a creek, river, major storm water drain or in a low‐lying area, you may be at risk from floods.
Impacts of a flood. Your property may be flooded, you could become isolated (surrounded by floodwater), access to other areas might be cut and you could lose your power, water supply and other low-lying infrastructure such as drainage and sewage may also become blocked.
Floods can pose a risk to your life. The major cause of death during floods is by people entering floodwater, that is driving, riding or walking through floodwater and also children playing in floodwater.
Floods cause damage and disruption. Every year in NSW, floods cause millions of dollars damage to property and critical infrastructure, such as roads and railways as well as to agricultural land and crops. Floods also disrupt business and can affect communities.
If you live in an area prone to flooding it is important to prepare your family and property now before floods arrive.
Community and regional level risks
The NSW SES manages community and regional level risks and these risks are different in each community and are often outlined in Local, Regional and State Flood Plans.
These comprehensive plans are often summarised by NSW SES into Local FloodSafe Guides.
Specific risks for your property
It is important to know what your risks are from floods. Information specific to your property and potential flood risk may be available from your Local Council. Check their website or ask at their enquiries counter.
Approximately 28% of the land area of New South Wales is subject to flooding. According to the Australian Water Resources Council, rural losses in terms of average annual actual damages are approximately equal to that of total urban losses.
The effects of flooding on rural property owners include losses to livestock, crops, fencing, buildings, personal items, farm equipment and machinery. While damage to crops and fences is usually unavoidable, there is the potential to reduce losses particularly of livestock, irrigation equipment, houses and sheds.
As a rural property owner or manager you may have experienced many floods. It is important to be aware that larger floods than those previously experienced can occur in your area.
Even if your property is not directly affected by flooding, you may be isolated and require assistance such as the supply of essential items and feed for livestock. While in many cases evacuation will not be necessary, you should consider evacuation as an option if severe flooding is predicted. Deciding to remain in your home when it is inundated or surrounded by floodwater can be dangerous.
Flooding may last for weeks. Your home may become a refuge for vermin, snakes and spiders. There may be no water, sewerage, power, telephone or other services for several weeks and you may be unable to call for help in an emergency.
The NSW SES has developed a Rural Properties FloodSafe Guide for information and advice on floods in rural and remote properties in NSW including:
Before it floods
- Listen to your local radio station for information, updates and advice
- Lift household items and farm equipment on to benches and tables placing electrical goods on top
- Secure objects that are likely to float and cause damage
- Locate important papers, valuables and mementoes
- Put them in your Emergency Kit and take them with you when you evacuate
- Check sheds and outbuildings and relocate waste containers, chemicals and poisons well above floor level
- Check if your neighbours need help
- Locate and prepare pets for possible evacuation
- If isolation is likely, have sufficient non-perishable food, essential medications fuel and other necessities to last two weeks. Do not forget pet food and stockfeed
- Move livestock to high ground where they can be provided with feed for the duration of the flood
- Relocate fodder supplies to high ground
- Move farm equipment and relocate pumps to high ground
During a flood
- Never enter floodwater
- Keep listening to your local radio station for information, updates and advice
- Keep in contact with your support person and follow your Home FloodSafe Plan
- Be prepared to evacuate if advised
- If able, stack your possessions on benches and tables, placing electrical items at the top
- Locate and prepare pets for possible evacuation
Assistance for animals
Industry and Investment NSW may provide assistance for pets and companion animals.
If you need to evacuate, take your pets with you. Ensure they are caged or leashed.
More information is available from www.dpi.nsw.gov.au
- Rural FloodSafe Guide
- Rural Assistance Authority, Natural Disaster Relief Scheme
- NSW Department of Primary Industries, Drought, bushfire and emergencies
- Pets, Farm animals and wildlife FloodSafe
Watch the NSW SES Rural FloodSafe Community Service Announcement below that advises what to do to prepare for floods and possible isolation:
Urban areas, including metropolitan, suburbs and towns, can have specific flood risks including impacts of flash flooding. It is important to remember that flooding in urban areas can be very dangerous.
Preparing now for a flood can potentially save lives and can minimise damage to property and possessions.
If you live in a flash flood area, planning can be difficult as warnings may not be possible. Know the environmental cues such as heavy rainfall and pooling water which could signify possible flash flooding and act early.
When flash flooding is likely, leaving low-lying homes and businesses (evacuation) well before flash flooding begins is the best action to take, but only if it is safe to do so . If you are trapped by rising floodwater, seek refuge in the highest part of a sturdy building. Stay there and call '000' (triple zero) if you need rescue.
Flash flooding is incredibly dangerous. It is important to remember that floodwater can be faster flowing and deeper than it appears. It can also contain contaminants such as sewage and poisons, hidden snags and debris. Flash floods can also erode road and path surfaces leaving unseen dangers underneath. It is important to follow some simple measures to make sure you stay safe. The major cause of death during floods is by people entering floodwater.
Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater.
Learn more about floods