FAQs

1. What is a floodplain map?

A floodplain map shows the depth of floodwater in a given flood event.  For the purposes of planning, a 1-in-100-year flood event is used as a standard measure.  The 1-in-100-year floodplain map shows the extent of inundation and provides the City of Burnside with a guide for planning urban development.  It also provides a base for development of strategies to reduce and manage flood risk.  Another way of describing a 1 in 100 year flood, is to say that it has a 1% (1/100) chance of happening in any one year.

2. What is a 1-in-100 year flood?

A flood of the magnitude of 1-in-100 years would be expected to occur, on average, once every 100 years.  That means there is a one percent, or 1-in-100, chance of a flood of this magnitude in any one year.

Of course, floods do not occur on a regular basis and a 1-in-100 year flood may not occur in every 100 year period.  Conversely there could be several floods that exceed the 1-in-100 year flood levels within any period of 100 years.

For planning purposes, the 1-in-100 year rainfall event is used as a standard measure.

3. How was the mapping done?  How were flood areas identified?

The map was generated by computer modelling to predict how water from a series of 1-in-100 year storm events in both rural and urban catchments would affect the local creek systems.  This is based on our knowledge of the likely volume of runoff water generated and the topography the across the catchment.

4. Why do we need this information? What is its use?

The floodplain study and map will help Councils and the Government with planning decisions for safe and orderly development.  Importantly, it will also help with the development of flood management, prevention and reduction initiatives.  It also allows residents, Councils and emergency services to be prepared and to know where water is likely to flow, in the event of a flood.

5. Will this information have to be included in Development Plans?

Council's Development Plans already contain policies which require that new development in the City of Burnside is located and designed so as not to increase flooding risk or expose occupants to avoidable risk.  Where older, outdated maps and policies are contained in Council's Development Plan, the Development Plan is amended through a Development Plan Amendment (DPA) process to ensure that the best available technical advice on the floodplain is included.

6. What are the restrictions on future development?

As part of the development assessment process, Council planning staff will determine whether the proposed development is likely to be affected by flooding.  Applicants will be required to provide evidence as part of the development application indicating how they have mitigated any threat of inundation and this may be by raising floor levels above the flood level.

7. I bought my property for development. Will this map prevent me from developing my property by changing the rules after I purchased?

Council will use the mapping study to inform its decisions on development applications.  Decisions are made on the basis of the best available information at the time and on safe and orderly development.  You should speak to Council's planning department.

8. Will I be compensated if the development rules on my property change and as a consequence reduce its value?

There is no provision for such compensation.  The floodplain mapping study does not increase the risk of flooding, it merely identifies areas of risk.

9. How is the value of my property likely to be affected if it is flooded?

A UK study into the impact of flooding on residential property (2004) showed that recent flooding (water entering the home) can adversely affect the value.  Average drop in value was found to be 12%.  The study also found that the value of flooded properties experience a progressive recovery over several years, providing there was no recurrence.

10. What is the likely impact on the value of my property now that it has been identified as being within an area that could experience flooding?

An Australian study into the consequences of the release of floodplain maps, was undertaken by the Natural Hazards Research Centre based at Macquarie University in 2003.  The report concludes that there is no long-term impact on property values.  It identifies that different studies (conducted in a number of different countries) show different results, some have negative impact, whilst others do not.   The study resolved that whether there was an impact or not, Councils have a duty of care to disclose the information   It also concluded (as noted above) that there is a bigger impact on property values from actual floods rather than identifying that a property is at risk of flooding.

11. What can I do to protect my property from flooding?

A study undertaken by the Bureau of Meteorology in Adelaide's western suburbs showed that the cost of damage due to flooding could be reduced by 30 - 60% by simple 'flood proofing' measures such as: provision of temporary flood barriers across windows and doors and; elevating at-risk articles above flood level.  A brochure and checklist to assist residents to prepare an Emergency Flood Plan, with information about how to safeguard your home, is available on the City of Burnside website (www.burnside.sa.gov.au).  They can also be obtained from the Civic Centre or by calling 8366 4200.

12. Will it affect my insurance premiums?

Insurance cover varies and you should check with your insurer.  It should be noted that generally, house and contents insurance does not cover flooding.

13. What are the authorities going to do to stop flooding?

Flooding is a natural event. Virtually the entire eastern suburbs are on a natural floodplain.  Understanding the risk and the likely behaviour of floodwaters is the first step towards managing the situation. Councils, the Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board and the State Government are working together to develop strategies to better prepare for and manage flood events. The solutions could cost many millions of dollars and take many years to implement. A range of options needs to be thoroughly assessed and the community consulted. The risk of flooding cannot be completely removed.

14. What should I do in the event of a flood?

The City of Burnside has prepared a brochure providing information to assist residents to prepare an Emergency Flood Plan. A checklist has also been prepared. Copies can be obtained from Council's Customer Service Centre or by phoning 8366 4200.

15. What is the NRM Board's role in floodplain management?

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board acts as a facilitator to ensure that these issues are examined and acted upon on a catchment-wide basis, rather than just at the local Council level.  Floodplain management responsibilities are shared by State and Local Governments and their various agencies. 

16. What is Council's responsibility in floodplain management?

Council has the primary responsibility for management of development within floodplains.  Council will use the up-to-date floodplain maps to guide its planning and development decisions to ensure that any development does not adversely affect flood risk in other areas and that new developments are not at risk of flood damage in a 1-in-100 year flood.  Council is also working with neighboring Councils, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and the State Government to develop and implement strategies to better prepare for and manage flood events.

17. My house is in a high-risk area. Why did Council allow the house to be built in a flood zone?

These maps have only just been finalised, so the latest information has not been available to Council or the public until now.  Council makes decisions based on the best information it has available at any given time.  We now have a better understanding and knowledge of rainfall patterns throughout the catchment, so we can better predict where water will flow. 

18. I've never been flooded before, yet now you're telling me my house is in a floodplain. How can this be?

The fact that you have never been flooded before is no guarantee that it won't happen in the future.  The flood shown on this map is a relatively rare event that may not occur in a lifetime.  We now have a better understanding and knowledge of rainfall patterns and topography throughout the catchment so we can better predict where water will flow. 

19. If the 1-in-100 year flood event is so rare, why is it used for planning purposes? Wouldn't we be better off planning for floods that are more likely to happen, such as a 1-in-50 year flood?

By planning for a 1-in-100 year flood, we're also reducing the impact of lesser floods.  When Councils undertake floodplain mapping studies they look at all possible floods from the fairly regular 1-in-5 year flood through to the unlikely 1-in-500 year and probable maximum floods.  Councils, the State Government and emergency services use all of this information to plan for and assess flood risk.  The 1-in-100 year flood is the accepted standard for development planning and is the level that Councils in South Australia generally take into consideration when making planning and development decisions.  Some Councils also have policies based on other recurrence intervals.

20. Conversely, why don't we plan for a 1-in-200 or 1-in-500 year event?

When Councils undertake floodplain mapping studies they look at all likely floods from the fairly regular 1-in-5 year flood through to the unlikely 1-in-500 year flood and the probable maximum flood.  Councils, the State Government and emergency services use this information to plan for and assess flood risk.  The 1-in-100 year flood is the internationally accepted standard for development planning and is the level that Councils in South Australia generally take into consideration when making planning and development decisions.

The cost of physical works required to prevent flooding in the case of larger floods (i.e. a 1-in-500 year flood) would be prohibitive and unreasonable given the likelihood of this magnitude of flood occurring.  The environmental and visual impacts of such infrastructure would also be considerable.

21. My property lies outside the floodplain.  Does that mean I am safe from flooding?

The limit of flooding shown on the map is not a boundary between flood-prone and flood-free land.  The floodplain mapping only dealt with water flowing down the creeks and did not model the capacity of local drainage systems to cope with such storm events.

Land outside the flood extent shown on this map could be affected by:

  • larger storms
  • flooding from local drainage systems, which can occur as a result of localised heavy rainfall or drain blockage

22. How much will it cost to mitigate this flood risk?  How will the mitigation works be paid for? Will my rates rise?

Council is working with neighbouring Councils, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and the State Government to develop an Urban Stormwater Management Plan.  The Management Plan will, among other things, identify options, priorities and costs for reducing the risk of flooding in vulnerable areas.

23. If the appropriate infrastructure is put in place, will that mean that the properties identified as being at risk of flooding will be free from risk?

Our aim is to better prepare for and manage flood events for the majority of properties.  No property can be made entirely free from risk.

Council is working with neighboring Councils, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and the State Government to develop an Urban Stormwater Management Plan.  The Management Plan will, among other things, identify options, priorities and costs for reducing the risk of flooding in vulnerable areas.

24. Are Councils, vendors or real estate agents obliged to advise potential purchasers/renters of the potential for flood risk?

With the sale of a property, real estate agents are obliged to provide potential purchasers with the Section 7 statement.  The Section 7 statement is a statement of encumbrances on the property and will include an advisory note highlighting that some properties may be subject to inundation.