A floodplain is an area of land which is subject to inundation by floods up to and including the probable maximum flood event, that is, flood prone land. Floodplains are also important environmentally, supporting biologically diverse ecological communities, a range of threatened species and provide food for aquatic animals such as fish and water birds.
Floodplain management decisions need to satisfy the social and economic needs of the community as well as maintain or enhance the natural ecosystems that the floodplain sustains.
Planning for water sharing in New South Wales requires environmental water needs to be identified. NSW Office of Water leads this planning process.
In some locations, where the plan covers places of high environmental importance, particular attention is given to these needs. Ecological character and threatened species present in the plan area are identified. Hydrology and environmental connections between the river and its floodplain are documented and aquatic habitats mapped.
The Lowbidgee floodplain in the Lower Murrumbidgee is acknowledged as an important environmental asset for New South Wales being listed in the Australian Directory of Important Wetlands. Planning for water sharing on the floodplain included a comprehensive investigation of its ecological character and environmental water needs. These were considered in the report:
- Environmental water needs of the Lower Murrumbidgee (Lowbidgee) floodplain; Discussion Paper 1 – Approach and ecological considerations (PDF 8.8 MB).
The Office of Environment and Heritage consults with the NSW Office of Water to prepare rural floodplain management plans that define requirements for the management of floodwaters within floodplains. Visit the Office of Environment and Heritage for more information.
The NSW Office of Water manages approval of controlled works on designated floodplains under Part 8 of the Water Act 1912.