How you can prepare for floods

To learn more about what you can do before, during and after floods, please visit the State Emergency Service website.

If a significant flood impacts our municipality, Council will implement its Emergency Management Plan and work with other emergency services to minimise the impacts as much as possible.


Stormwater generally means rainwater that runs off surfaces such as lawns, roads, roofs, car parks, driveways, patios and natural ground surfaces. Under the Urban Drainage Act 2013, runoff water is defined as water which has been concentrated by means of a drain, surface channel, subsoil drain or formed surface. This means runoff generated from natural surfaces, such as grassed lawns and gardens is not regulated by Tasmanian law.

Our role

We are responsible for maintaining all the public stormwater systems in the municipal area, including public stormwater mains, manholes and pits, and regulating private drainage.

If a property has roof gutters, downpipes, subsoil drains and stormwater drainage that are not connected to our stormwater system, then we may request that it is connected to our stormwater drainage system, if available and practical to do so.

To report an issue with our stormwater infrastructure please get in touch.

Your role

It’s important that residents play a part in keeping our waterways healthy and functioning:

  • You must ensure any stormwater within your property from hard areas, including roofs and driveways, is collected and drained appropriately.
  • You must maintain any private stormwater system on your property, including downpipes, gutters, private stormwater pipes, and gully pits, in a good operational condition.
  • You are not permitted to construct a barrier (dam, levy etc.) that interferes with the natural path of stormwater.
  • You are not permitted to divert or change the natural flow of stormwater.
  • You are required to control stormwater associated with any construction work which takes place on your property.
  • You must keep the natural watercourses and overland flow paths free of debris regardless if there is a drainage easement on your property, and free of obstructions to allow runoff passing through your property in a safe manner and to minimise any potential damage.

Discharging stormwater

Stormwater collected from a property can be discharged by the following points of discharge, subject to our approval. Generally, there is only one discharge point for each lot:

  • to a kerb and gutter discharge point
  • where the lot falls away from the street and there is a stormwater pipe or similar provided with an approved connection point to a public network, then the property must discharge to that drainage network
  • if the above aren’t possible, you can look at disposal onsite (soakage trench) or pressured flow via a pump station. However, these approaches require our approval.

Please note: it is illegal to direct or discharge stormwater onto a neighbouring property.




Don’t wait for a flash flooding event to learn what to do.

The Bureau of Meteorology issues advice regarding heavy and flash flooding rainfall due to happen in the near future.

To keep up to date with this advice listen to ABC Radio on the following frequencies:

Local ABC Radio

Bicheno 89.7FM – Radio National 91.3FM
Orford 90.5FM – Radio National 88.9FM or 585AM
Swansea 106.10FM – Radio National 107.7FM or 585AM
Triabunna 90.5FM – Radio National 88.9FM

    • Check your insurance cover.
    • Are you covered for flooding?
    • Does your policy replace new for old, does it have a limit on repairs?
    • Check both building and contents cover; don’t underestimate the value of contents


If people are asked how they would defend their property to prevent the inflow of water the initial response is sandbags. However, what is not generally understood is that sandbags are not waterproof.

Also, sandbags empty or full are not easily obtained. The State Emergency Service (SES) can supply sandbags to private properties however, Council has limited supplies and these are required to manage public infrastructure.

The main points of water inflow to properties during flooding events are:

    • Back flow through toilets and sink plug holes.
    • Through the gaps around windows and door frames.
    • Through air bricks

To aid in preventing water coming in these main entry points the following techniques can be used when sandbags are not available or in preference to sandbags as they can be more effective.

Put plugs in sinks and baths. Weigh them down with a strong plastic bag filled with sand or earth.

Place a strong plastic bag full of sand or earth in the toilet bowl to prevent sewage entering your property. Close the lid and weigh down. Manhole covers within your property boundary should be weighed down with earth or sand filled bags or heavy objects. The gaps around windows and door frames can be sealed with duct tape and plastic available from most hardware stores. Duct tape and plastic well applied on a dry surface is far more effective than sandbagging. Similarly air bricks can be sealed, duct tape placed over, or a sheet of plastic and duct taped. Do not permanently seal your air bricks.

In preparation for flash flooding, assess your property and its vulnerability. To increase the flood resilience of your home think about using the methods described above, and have on hand stocks of plastic, duct tape, bags filled with sand or dirt and silicone sealant. This will assist with protecting your home in the event of flooding taking place.

Know how to turn off your water, gas and electricity. Ask your supplier how to do this.

Mark taps or switches with stickers to help you remember. If safe to do so, turn off gas, electricity and water supplies when floodwater is about to enter your home. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in floodwater.

If possible, move any outside belongings to higher locations including car oils, pesticides and chemicals which can be very hazardous to the environment when mixed with floodwaters. These should be stored in plastic, airtight containers in a secure place away from the floodwaters.


  • Call your building and contents insurance company as soon as possible.
  • The insurance company will confirm what repairs and replacements are needed and covered by your policy.
  • Ask the insurance company how long it will be before the loss adjustor visits.
  • Ask the insurance company if you are to clean your property or if they will get a company to do it for you.
  • If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Photograph and video record your damaged property. List the damage to your property and belongings.
  • Use a permanent ink pen to mark on the wall the maximum height of the floodwater – do this in every room affected by flooding.
  • Make a note of all phone calls. Record the date, name and what was agreed.
  • Keep copies of all letters and emails you send and receive. Also keep all receipts.
  • Don’t throw anything away until told to (except ruined food).

Please click here for a printable PDF.