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Planning and development within flood zones

Understand how flooding may impact planning, development or your insurance.

Council’s role and responsibility

Central Coast Council is responsible for implementing the NSW Floodplain Management Process and to manage land that is subject to flooding within its Local Government Area.

NSW government legislation stipulates that local Councils are primarily responsible for:

  • local flood planning
  • local flood mitigation works
  • management of local development within floodplains

Floodplain risk management studies and plans

To appropriately manage development within the floodplain, Councils are required to complete strategic plans which consider the risks of development in the floodplain and balances these against the beneficial use of the floodplain by development.

These plans come in the form of Flood Studies, Floodplain Risk Management Studies, and lastly Floodplain Risk Management Plans.

Management plans systematically determine the most appropriate steps to manage flood problems in an area. The values and opinions of the community are of high value in these studies, and as such, you are highly encouraged to provide input throughout via surveys, public exhibitions, and other meetings.

For more information regarding flood studies or flood related projects that Council is currently undertaking, you can visit the ‘Your Voice Our Coast’ page. Community consultation forms an integral part of what we do at Council and this page offers a platform for you to provide comment on our proposed works.

Flood Information Certificates

Council’s Online Mapping Tool allows residents and business owners to determine if their property is subject to a 1 in 100 chance flood event.  Council has also developed an interactive online flood risk mapping  tool specifically for Tuggerah Lakes, which draws on current and predicted flood levels directly from the Bureau of Meteorology and converts it into a visual display to show the extent of flooding. Read more on flood risk tools

However, if you require more detailed flooding information (e.g for Development Application or Complying Development purposes), you can complete an application for a Flood Information Certificate via Council’s Property and Payments portal.

  • Standard Flood Information Certificate – delivered within 15 business days of lodgement
  • Urgent Flood Information Certificate - delivered within 3 business days of lodgement

Flood information about a property will generally not be provided over the phone.

View an example of a flood information certificate

  • The Central Coast operates under local planning instruments: 

    While the DCP and LEP cover all types of planning controls, the following chapters are specifically related to flooding and floodplain management:

    • DCP - Chapter 3.1 - Floodplain Management and Water Cycle Management
    • LEP – Chapter 5.21 – Flood Planning
    • LEP – Chapter 5.22 – Special Flood Considerations

    If you are intending to develop a parcel of land, it is important to know whether the property has been identified as a flood control lot. A flood control lot is land parcel that is subject to flood related development controls, which is specified on a Section 10.7 Planning Certificate. Alternatively, a Flood Control Lot is a property which intercepts our ‘Flood Planning Area’, which can be viewed under the ‘Flood Precincts’ tab on our Online Mapping Tool. The contents of a Section 10.7 Planning Certificate should always marry up with what is shown in the online mapping.

    For more information, go to Council’s planning control web page.

  • Any natural watercourse, such as a creek, which is located on your land is your property; it is not a Council asset or responsibility. But you are still not allowed to make changes. Attempting to solve your drainage problem may adversely affect your neighbour. You should not construct any works that divert stormwater flows onto your neighbour’s property beyond what would occur naturally; you could be held liable by your neighbour for any damage because of such action.

    A common problem in built up residential areas is the construction of boundary fences and gates which impede natural overland flow paths. Fences should allow water to safely pass. You should be careful, when making these types of improvements to your property, that you choose construction materials which will not dam or divert overland flood waters. These types of improvement works may require development approval if located within a floodplain or overland flow path.

    Likewise, placing fill on flood liable land may cause an increase in floodwaters upstream and downstream. Placing fill around your house and blocking or diverting pipes may also lead to serious flooding problems either to yourself or your neighbours. Properties which were once flood free can be made flood liable because of these types of works. You should always check with council before placing any fill material on or near an existing pipeline, overland flow path or watercourse. Filling is not allowed in any areas considered to be a floodway, flow path or flood storage area.

    Landowners must not attempt to change the location of a natural watercourse on their property. This is an illegal activity; attempting to relocate it you could cause damage to both your own and other people’s properties, cause detrimental impacts on local flora and fauna and expose yourself to legal issues. If there is a constructed channel or pipe running across your property then, if it is located within a drainage easement (an easement is a part of your land that gives someone else the legal right to use), then it is likely to be a Council asset; if it is not located within an easement then it is likely to be your responsibility.

    Please check with council to seek advice on whether the work is permissible and whether a development application will be required.

  • Any property which is identified as being flood prone will have a message placed on the property’s Section 10.7 Planning Certificate (as is the same for other potential hazards, including bushfire, landslip, coastal hazards, contamination, road widening). This is a flag that indicates that flood related development controls apply to the land. This simply means that if there is a development proposal on the land, such as a new house, then it would need to consider the flood risk so that the future occupants can live safely on the land.

    Council flood information is publicly available. It is also available to the Insurance industry. All insurance companies can choose to use Council flood information, but some of them also choose to carry out their own flood studies to be able to assess their risk. Their assessment of risk will be focussed on the term of the premium, which is normally 12 months. So, the impacts of future climate change are not likely to affect premiums. Insurance companies are not all the same, they can assess risk in different ways, and they may classify flooding in different ways.

    Council always recommends that you shop around to ensure that your premium is appropriate. You should therefore make your own enquiries about how your insurance company classifies flooding (and stormwater), and how this relates to your insurance provisions and premiums. Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) may provide helpful information.

    Read more FAQs on our flood insurance fact sheet.

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