HAVE YOUR SAY: Proposed Interim Flood Planning Levels

Published on 16 November 2023

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Clarence Valley Council is currently seeking feedback on proposed interim Flood Planning Levels for the Clarence River floodplain, which is based on Council’s recently adopted Lower Clarence Flood Model Update 2022.

At the October 2023 Council meeting, it was resolved to exhibit the interim Flood Planning Levels proposed to replace current Flood Planning Levels.

The proposed Flood Planning Levels are informed by the peak flood depths across the Clarence Valley floodplain during a predicted 1% annual exceedance probability (AEP) flood event that includes mid-range climate change considerations, as indicated by the Lower Clarence Flood Model Update 2022 (see image below). An additional 500mm ‘freeboard’ is added to this flood event to determine the proposed interim Flood Planning Levels.

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It is proposed new homes or residential development with habitable rooms will be required to be built above this Flood Planning Level.

"Generally, the proposed Flood Planning Levels increase in all cases, more in Grafton and surrounds, and lesser in the Lower Clarence," Clarence Valley Council Manager Development and Land Use Planning Murray Lane said.

"This is because the proposed Flood Planning Levels include greater climate change assumptions than the current 2013 Flood Model. The 2022 Flood Model includes up-to-date assumptions about sea level rise and increases in rainfall and runoff associated with climate change.

"Including climate change in Flood Planning Levels is best practice and must be considered, as required by the NSW Government’s current flood planning policy and guidelines.

"The proposed interim Flood Planning Levels do not affect the use of existing homes or buildings, and will only apply to new development where habitable rooms are proposed."

Why is an 'interim' Flood Planning Level proposed?

Council has a responsibility to quickly incorporate the most up-to-date flood planning information from the 2022 Flood Model into Council's planning controls. Due to recent changes by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to the standardised Local Environmental Plan which affects how Flood Planning Levels are determined, Council has commenced preparation of a new Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan which is expected to take 18-24 months. The proposed interim Flood Planning Levels, if adopted, will be in effect until a new Floodplain Risk Management Plan is adopted.

A series of Frequently Asked Questions has been compiled and can be viewed under Related Information on this page.

Click here for instructions on how to view the interim Flood Planning Levels for individual properties on Council's Online Mapping System. If  you require any further assistance please contact Council on 02 6643 0200.

Community engagement sessions started this week with drop in sessions to discuss the proposed interim Flood Planning Levels, as well as the draft Clarence Valley Local Housing Strategy.

"The sessions at Yamba Farmers Markets and Wooli Street Hall were well attended with plenty of interest in the community," Clarence Valley Council Director Environment and Planning Adam Cameron said.

"We received lots of feedback and were also able to explain some of the finer details of the proposed changes to the interim Flood Planning Levels and how they were determined.

"We look forward to continuing to engage with the community on the interim Flood Planning Levels, as well as the Housing Strategy, which will both play an important role for future development in the Clarence Valley."

Upcoming community engagement sessions include:

  • Fri 17 Nov, 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-4.30pm: Maclean Library
  • Tue 21 Nov, 10am-4pm: Grafton Library
  • Thurs 23 Nov, 10am-1pm: Iluka Bowls Club

There are additional engagement sessions planned for relevant industry groups and stakeholders including local chambers of commerce, developers, real estate agents and environmental and community advocates.

The proposed interim Flood Planning Levels, and any submissions during the exhibition period, will be considered by Council before deciding if they should be adopted. Submissions close 4pm on Monday 29 January2023.

The Lower Clarence Flood Model Update 2022, including interim Flood Planning Levels proposed, animations and other details are available here:https://www.clarence.nsw.gov.au/Council/Our-performance/Plans-and-strategies/Floodplain-Management-plans-studies-and-animations

For media enquiries please email communications@clarence.nsw.gov.au or phone0427 894 745.