Improving floodplain connections

Structures that are likely to alter the flow of floodwater on or across a floodplain are called flood works. Changes to flooding may degrade the health of flood-dependent ecosystems, Aboriginal cultural assets and cause other social and economic impacts to downstream water users.

There are many flood works in the northern Murray-Darling Basin, like causeways, levees, embankments and cuttings. To manage the impacts of these structures, flood works must meet the rules of the appropriate floodplain management plans.

The Improving Floodplain Connections program will accelerate the process of bringing unapproved or non-compliant flood works in more than 100 priority areas in the northern Basin into compliance. Without targeted funding, the work would take 15 years to complete.

About the program

A rigorous assessment process has identified the priority areas where remediation, in the form of removal or modification of unapproved or non-compliant flood works, will provide the greatest benefit to floodplain connectivity, and in turn the community and environment.

The program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth Government ($10.196 million) and the NSW Government ($1.08 million). It will be delivered by the Department of Planning and Environment, the Natural Resources Access Regulator and WaterNSW, in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industry.

This program complements the floodplain management reforms being introduced through the implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy. Unapproved flood works will not be authorised for floodplain harvesting.

The next steps

The NSW government is reviewing flood works in the priority areas and will consult with affected landholders and the community on impacts and remediation options. Where modification is possible, the program will provide technical and flood work approval assistance. Landholders will be responsible for undertaking the required modifications or removal of unapproved flood works, overseen by the Natural Resources Access Regulator.

Valley Stage 1: preliminary assessment Stage 2: consultation Stage 3: removal/modification
Border Rivers (pilot) Q3 2022 - Q2 2023 Q2 2023 Q2 2023 – ongoing
Gwydir Q4 2022 - Q2 2023 Q3 2023 Q3 2023 – ongoing
Barwon-Darling Q4 2022 - Q2 2023 Q3 2023 Q3 2023 – ongoing
Macquarie Q2 2023 - Q3 2023 Q4 2023 Q4 2023 – ongoing
Namoi Q2 2023 - Q4 2023 Q4 2023 Q4 2023 – ongoing

How we will communicate with you

We are committed to keeping stakeholders updated about the IFC program and how it might impact them. We will provide regular general updates and be in touch at specific times during the program. Public engagement will communicate the outcomes of the preliminary regional assessments and identify factors for further consideration. Landholders with flood works located within priority areas will also receive direct communication.

Watch a video of the public webinar held on 16 November 2022.


Map showing identified priority areas (PDF, 346.89 KB)

Fact sheet: Improving Floodplain Connections program (PDF, 100.24 KB)

Logic informing the program

Learn about floodplain management plans

FAQs: Improving floodplain connections

Healthy Floodplains Project

Guidelines 1 - Decommissioning & removal of unapproved flood works

Guidelines 2 - Desilting & excavated material