What is the Australian Flood Risk Information Portal?

The Australian Flood Risk Information Portal (the portal) is a website that will make flood information, currently held by different sources, accessible from a single online location. The portal includes a database of flood study information and metadata, and tools that enable users to search and display this material. The portal provides access to authoritative flood maps and flood studies, as well as information about surface water observations derived from the analysis of satellite imagery. The portal also provides links to related services, such as flood warnings and flood guidelines.

The portal incorporates tools that enable users to search, display and retrieve information. The data management tools and standards that have been developed for the portal will enable data custodians to standardise their data and upload it to the portal, or to make compliant data accessible via web services.

Why was the portal developed?

Following the devastating floods across Eastern Australia in 2011, the Australian Government initiated the Natural Disaster Insurance Review. This review highlighted the lack of consistency across the country in the way flood risk information was collected, and made available to users. The review also recognised the need for consumers to be aware of the natural disaster risks they may face, as well as the benefits of making flood risk information more readily accessible.

In response to these findings, the Government established the National Flood Risk Information Project (NFRIP), this four year project commenced on 1 July 2012. NFRIP aims to improve the quality, availability and accessibility of flood risk information across Australia, and raise community awareness of flood risks. In doing so, NFRIP supports the objectives of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR) adopted by Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2011, specifically, that Governments have effective arrangements in place to inform people about hazard and risk.

The National Flood Risk Information Project (NFRIP) has developed this information portal and guidelines covering the collection, comparability and reporting of flood risk information.

What is a flood study?

A flood study is the scientific investigation of flooding in a particular area, usually the catchment of a river system. It may involve hydrologic and hydraulic investigations, and a statistical analysis of the frequency with which floods have occurred. The purpose of a flood study is to predict the height of water and the extent to which it will inundate the landscape in a modelled flood event.

What is a flood map?

A flood map is the result of hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, by scientific subject matter experts, that take into account many factors when developing models for various scenarios. Such factors might include: terrain, water catchments, spot heights and information from historical floods. A map can represent the extent of a flood the probability of an event occurring and sometimes the depth of water inundation in the modelled area.

Where are flood maps available?

Flood maps can be found by searching the Australia Flood Risk Information Portal, where mapping data is available this will be shown in the search results. While some flood studies don¿¿¿t include separate mapping data, maps relevant to the specific study can be found in many of the attached flood study documents.

The Australian Flood Risk Information Portal search application showing search results and a map

What is the Australian Flood Studies Database?

The Australian Flood Studies Database (AFSD) is the national data catalogue of flood study information that underpins the portal. The AFSD contains general information for available studies, including the study location, date, commissioning organisation and lead consultant, and metadata on flood studies and information on flood risk. The metadata is created through a purpose-built data entry application, and information harvested from various state-operated catalogues.

Flood study entries can include information across nine additional categories including: hydrological estimates, hydraulic modelling, damage assessments, terrain survey, survey of building floor levels, maps of inundation extent, maps of flood hazard, flood mitigation strategies and post flood information. Where available PDF versions of the flood studies and associated reports, such as floodplain management studies and floodplain management plans, can also be downloaded.

The database is a centralised listing of flood studies that enables users, such as consultants and commissioning agencies, to discover what work has already been done in a particular area, and to identify what datasets are available for future use. It also enables the general public to access flood information for their area, before approaching their local council for more specific information on their property.

How do I search the portal?

You can search for studies and maps in three main ways:

  1. You can highlight your area of interest on the map by drawing a box around it or by entering the longitude and latitude values.
  2. You can a text search to search by town name, catchment or local government area.
  3. You can use the Advanced Search to specify your search parameters.

More information on searching can be found in the Search Help section.

How do I access the actual report and maps?

Many records in the database have the reports that incorporate maps, and can be downloaded directly from the Resources section. If the study you're interested in has no attachments, you will need to contact the commissioning organisation identified in the study record to determine if a copy of the report is available.

Has a flood warning alert been issued for my area?

Please check the Bureau of Meteorology - National Warnings Summary for details on flood warnings.

The Australian Flood Risk Information Portal does not hold information about current flood warnings.

What do I do in the event of a flood?

Contact your local State Emergency Services if you require assistance in the event of a flood. The Australian Flood Risk Information Portal is not a response tool.

Can I use or reproduce the information here?

The portal is maintained by Geoscience Australia, an agency of the Australian Government's Department of Industry. Unless otherwise noted, all information is available for re-use under Creative Commons 3.0 By Attribution (CC-BY) licensing.

The ownership of each flood study remains with the commissioning organisation and/or author as indicated in the record on each study. Users of the database should refer to each specific flood study report to determine any constraints in its usage.

In the portal¿¿¿s mapping application, a range of other datasets are made available to add context to the displayed flood information. These datasets are published by other agencies. For information regarding these datasets, please contact those agencies.

What if the database doesn't do what I need it to do?

Your input is valuable in the continued development of the database and the portal. Please share your input via hazards@ga.gov.au.

Further information on planned project activities during 2014-16 can be found at NFRIP Activities.

What if some information in the portal is incorrect?

The portal contains information about flood studies. Some information may be incomplete or may have been superseded by new material. The studies themselves have been commissioned by other state and local government agencies. Issues with the accuracy of the study itself should be referred to the commissioning organisation. However, if you find that the database displays incorrect information about a flood study, please email hazards@ga.gov.au.

Can I add a flood study or flood maps to the portal?

Registered data custodians can add flood studies and maps to the portal. Please notify us of any other published flood studies that aren't currently included in the database, but may be suitable for release through the portal. Contact us at hazards@ga.gov.au.

Why are there gaps in the 'Local Government Area' overlay?

Local Government Areas cover incorporated areas of Australia. Incorporated areas are legally designated parts of States and Territories over which incorporated local governing bodies have responsibility. The major areas of Australia not administered by incorporated bodies are the northern parts of South Australia and all of the Australian Capital Territory. More information on local government areas can be found at the Australian Local Government Association.

Some pages in the portal display information derived from the Local Government Area boundaries from the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Please see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2011 for more information.