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  • Writer's pictureJanneke

The Gold Coast suburbs most at risk of flooding

Following the floods in 2022, that saw many parts of south-east Queensland and indeed the Gold Coast inundated, we take a look at which Gold Coast suburbs are prone to flooding, which areas are safe and how to mitigate your risks.

Since the recent unprecedented weather events that caused so much devastation in many parts of South East Queensland and NSW, we have received many enquiries about which areas are prone to flooding and which areas of the Gold Coast are safe. We will look at what caused the floods, which areas are affected by flooding and how to find out if a property is in a flood zone.

What caused the 2022 QLD floods?

The floods came at the tail-end of 'La Niña' and was caused by a low-pressure system over Queensland's southern coast dragging moisture from the Coral Sea while at the same time a high-pressure system towards New Zealand stopped the low-pressure system to move away, and as a result dropping a 'rain bomb' on the area causing dams to spill, rivers to flood and pushing the city's storm water systems to the edge resulting in widespread flooding.

Which areas on the Gold Coast were affected by the 2022 floods?

There was flash flooding across many parts of the Gold Coast as the city couldn't handle the deluge of rain as streets were inundated and many of the rivers and creeks broke their banks and experienced flooding including the Pimpama,- Coomera,- and Nerang Rivers, Albert and Logan Rivers, Mudgeeraba,- Tallebudgera,- and Currumbin Creeks.

Where are the Gold Coast flood zones?

It is no surprise that the suburbs that are more prone to flooding are those in and around the many Gold Coast rivers, creeks and man-made lakes and waterways. When looking at the Gold Coast Flood Overlay Map it is clear that the lower-lying areas, closer to the coast, generally have a higher risk of flooding.

To find the suburbs with the least chance of flooding you have to go inland, and find higher ground, looking at the flood overlay maps these suburbs include: Currumbin Valley, Springbrook, Tallebudgera Valley, Tugun, Burleigh Heads, Bonogin, Tallai, much of Mudgeeraba, Reedy Creek and Robina, Worongary, Highland Park, Ashmore, Molendinar, Gaven, Parkwood, Arundel, Gilston, Nerang, Pacific Pines, Oxenford, Upper Coomera, Willow Vale, Ormeau Hills, Yatala.

Most suburbs of the Gold Coast, however, have some danger of flooding, this can be very localised; contained to only a few lower-lying streets or properties near a waterway, or it can be entire blocks and even entire suburbs. It is therefore important that no matter where you look to settle, you check what the situation is for that suburb, street and the individual property.

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How do I find out if a property is in a flood zone?

The City of Gold Coast has an interactive map showing the Gold Coast flood zones. If you are looking to buy, build, or otherwise develop a property you can use the mapping tool to check if your property is in a flood affected area. Flood overlay shows areas of land identified in the state planning policy and includes areas of land with flooding and inundation potential and/or overland flow paths. The purpose of the Flood Overlay is to regulate development occurring in flood affected areas to mitigate the risks to the landowner and community. Many newer homes have been and are being built with consideration of flooding and rising sea levels. Adjustments to existing properties can also be made to reduce the risks.

The map considers future changes to climate by incorporating the following state mandated parameters:

  • a projected increase in sea level of 0.8m above present-day levels by the year 2100

  • 10% increase in storm tide intensity.

  • 10% increase in rainfall intensity is also included in line with best practice in flood modelling.

The existing Flood overlay map identifies properties potentially affected by rare flood events.

Properties outside of the mapped area may also be subjected to flooding events (i.e. extremely rare events) or local flooding from stormwater.

How to use the interactive flood map

1. search for property address, street or suburb

2. find your location or navigate using the zoom-in / zoom-out buttons

3. read the disclaimer - this has important information regarding the map and what the info means

What does it mean if a property is in a flood zone?

If the property is in a flood affected area the mapping tool approximates the extent and depth of flooding in a rare 1% probability of a flood event occurring in any year. The map does NOT tell you if the property has previously been affected by floods. If you find the property is identified as potentially flood affected it is recommended you get a more detailed property flood report and/or seek advice from a surveyor, engineer or building certifier for more detailed advice on flood levels, floor levels and appropriate building practices.

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Where can you get a detailed property flood report?

Take it one step further, and buy a flood level search report for a specific property from the Gold Coast City Council. The report shows the properties' surveyed floor level and the estimated designated flood level. The report costs approx. $95.

Is it still safe to buy or rent a waterfront property?

You'd be wrong to assume that buying or renting one of the many waterfront homes on the Gold Coast is categorically a bad idea. What was noticeable in the 2022 floods was that many properties directly on the waterways were spared from flooding. With each weather event it all depends on where the water is coming from and the type of flooding (regional, local or riverine).

As previous flooding events are no indicator of future events, it is always important to investigate the specifics of each property's location and how it's built to assess your risks and make well-informed decisions.

Apart from buying a flood report and/or enlisting a surveyor, you should also look at insurance options and premiums - insurers will calculate the risk of flooding and will either not provide cover, or increase their premiums by '000 if they assess the risk being great. Important to note that insurers spread their risk, so you have to shop around, whilst one insurer might not provide cover at all, the next may provide a cover with no additional premiums - it all depends on how each insurer calculates the risk and how many other properties for example in one area they're already insuring.

Should you get flood insurance?

When buying or renting, especially in a flood zone, consider what home and/or contents insurance you need and want. Each insurer calculates the risk of flooding or other natural disasters differently, and not all insurers offer flood cover, so you need to shop around for the best cover and premiums.

The government's moneysmart website is a great place to start, it has lots of useful information and tips to ensure you get the cover you need.

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Disclaimer: We have in preparing this information used our best endeavours to ensure that the information contained herein is true and accurate but accept no responsibility and disclaim all liability in respect of any errors, omissions, inaccuracies or misstatements that may occur.

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