Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flood management

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Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flood management

Flood mitigation in Hawkesbury–Nepean Valley
Potential investment options (Stage 2)
Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, NSW
Fast-growing cities
Adaptation and resilience
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
NSW Government
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016


There is increasing flood risk in the highly populated and major growth region of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. Over the long term, the annual average cost of flood damage in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley is expected to be in the order of $70 million.

Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flood management represents a long-term infrastructure resilience challenge. Increasingly frequent extreme weather events, combined with the impacts of population growth in new and more densely populated areas, will likely require an increase in the level of resilience of some infrastructure networks. Infrastructure should be able to continue operating through minor disruptions, and recover quickly from major disruptions.

The largest flood on record in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley occurred in 1867, when the river level at Windsor reached 19.2 m above mean sea level, compared to the normal river level, which is less than 0.5 m above mean sea level. If the 1867 flood levels were to occur today, it is estimated that the total tangible damages could exceed $3 billion. If a more extreme event were to occur, the total damages could approach  
$8 billion (for a 1 in 1,000 year event).

Potential options

The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Integrated Flood Management Strategy presents a series of proposals and investments to reduce flood risk in the valley. Elements of the strategy being investigated and implemented include:

  • flood mitigation infrastructure, including raising Warragamba Dam
  • road infrastructure upgrades to improve flood evacuation capacity, such as culvert upgrades, new bridges, road raising and widening, and intersection upgrades
  • a community engagement strategy
  • improved governance and accountability to reduce flood risk through the integration of emergency, road and land use planning.

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).