Development in areas affected by sea level rise

Here in Lake Macquarie, we enjoy the benefits of living close to the ocean and the Lake. However, our location increases out susceptibility to lake flooding and projected sea level rise.

Scientists predict that sea level rise will continue and accelerate. This is due to the expansion of seawater as the oceans warm and land-based ice sheets and glaciers melt.

Water levels in Lake Macquarie are expected to rise at the same rate and to the same level as the ocean.

The NSW Government requires councils to factor in sea level rise when planning for future risks from flooding and coastal erosion. They advise that, when setting sea level rise benchmarks, "councils should consider projections that are widely accepted by competent scientific opinion".

Council used expert advice from scientists and the NSW Government to calculate a level for coastal and flood planning of 0.9 metres rise from 2011-2100.

Planning for future flood risk and tidal inundation

The Lake Macquarie Waterway Flood Study and Lake Macquarie Waterway Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan recommend increasing floor heights for new or existing developments to allow for the effects of sea level rise, and establishing Local Adaptation Plans to manage the future risk from flooding and tidal inundation in low-lying suburbs.

Council has been working with lakeside communities to better understand the potential hazards and available options to manage risks from rising lake levels and lake flooding.

The Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan includes provision to reduce the risk to foreshore property from future lake flooding and sea level rise.

Planning for coastal recession

The Lake Macquarie Coastal Zone Management Plan examines the effects of increased sea levels on beach erosion and storm surge.

Although there will be beach recession, it is not predicted to pose a significant threat to homes in the period up to 2100. The rate of recession can be slowed by improved dune management and adding dredged sand to beaches.

Engaging our community

As lake levels rise, communities in low-lying areas around the lake will be increasingly affected by lake flooding and tidal inundation.

Local Adaptation Plans are being developed for these areas to guide future decisions, such as how we design and maintain roads and drainage systems, how to make buildings safe and durable, and how we manage foreshore erosion and maintain a healthy lake.

Council is collaborating with residents, businesses, community groups and service providers from our foreshore communities to ensure the decisions made reflect their values and preferences when possible.