Floods and storms

Macedon Ranges Shire experiences both riverine flooding and flash flooding. There are a large number of creeks, as well as major rivers, within the shire that are subject to flooding.

Flooding affects rural areas along the creeks, many local and larger roads and a number of the urban areas.

Prolonged moderate to heavy rain can lead to riverine flooding within the shire. Generally, a wet catchment and a period of heavy rain are required to produce severe flooding.

Waterways in the shire

Key waterways in the shire include:

  • Campaspe River
  • Coliban River
  • Deep Creek
  • Riddells Creek
  • Bolinda Creek
  • Jacksons Creek
  • Five Mile Creek

Many of the shire’s natural waterways originate in the ranges (higher areas) and flow southeast to the flat, lower parts.

Most of these are tributaries of the Maribyrnong River, which forms to the southeast of the shire. The main flooding risks are associated with tributaries to the Maribyrnong River, particularly Deep Creek and Jacksons Creek.

Deep Creek rises to the east of Woodend on the northern face of the ranges and flows through Lancefield and Romsey before joining with Boyd Creek at Darraweit Guim. It flows out of the shire to the southeast and joins the Maribyrnong River a few kilometres upstream of Bulla. Jacksons Creek flows from above Rosslynne Reservoir, passes through Gisborne and joins the Maribyrnong River a few kilometres downstream from Bulla.

The Campaspe River and in many tributary creeks including the Coliban River, drain the western and northern parts of the shire. The Coliban River originates just outside the shire but passes through its north-western edge. These two large rivers can present flooding issues in Kyneton and Malmsbury, towns in the west of the shire.

Five Mile Creek, one of the Campaspe tributaries causes flooding problems in Woodend.

A small area of the shire to the south of Gisborne is within the Werribee River basin and drains to the Werribee River.

There are a number of reservoirs within the shire, notably Rosslynne Reservoir, just upstream of Gisborne; and Upper Coliban, Lauriston and Malmsbury Reservoirs on the Coliban River near Malmsbury.

Several smaller reservoirs exist near Riddells Creek, on the southern slopes of Mount Macedon. The status of these storages in the lead up to and during a storm event can have a large impact on downstream flood levels and inundation extents.

Who manages drainage and water catchments?

Melbourne Water and North Central Catchment Management Authority

Melbourne Water  (MW) and the Northern Central Catchment Management Authority  (NCCMA) manage the regional drainage system.

MW and NCCMA are responsible for larger drains, creeks, tributaries and rivers.

Under the Water Act (1989), Melbourne Water and NCCMA have responsibility for the bed and banks of the waterway, and in managing the area of land immediately adjacent to the waterway.

Find your local water corporation and catchment authority.

Southern Rural Water and Goulburn-Murray Water authorities

These water authorities are the responsible authorities for the issuing of farm dams and groundwater licences within Macedon Ranges Shire Council.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council

Council is responsible for local drains, road networks, and street and property drainage that feed into regional drains, rivers and creeks. This includes the maintenance of more than:

  • 9,000 drainage pits
  • 233km of underground pipes
  • 280km of kerb and channel 
  • 63 bridges
  • 4,000 under road culverts.

Property Owners

Landholders are responsible for providing stormwater drainage within their property boundaries and connections to the district drainage system. The proper maintenance of private drains is important to ensure that during wet weather events localised flooding is minimised on your land and on neighbouring properties.

As a property owner, you must:

  • Ensure that any works carried out on your property do not negatively impact on your neighbours by changing the flow of water across property boundaries;
  • Contact the relevant authority, usually Melbourne Water, NCCMA or Council, if you are planning to undertake works on any drains on your property
  • Ensure your driveway culvert  is in the correct position, clear of debris and of sufficient size.

In some instances, Council may assist residents with culvert clearing as part of drain-clearing activities happening adjacent to their property. See Blocked or overflowing drains for more information and to report a blocked drain.

Storm water from neighbouring properties

Storm water nuisance from adjoining land is regulated under the Water Act 1989. Council is not the authority on, or empowered to regulate, this legislation and cannot request an adjoining owner to comply with this Act. Under this Act, it is each owner’s responsibility to ensure that no nuisance is caused to neighboring or adjoining properties.   

Some options to help resolve the issue include:

  • Talk to your neighbour about the water issues or write them a letter.
  • Contact the Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria (DSCV) for advice and request a mediation meeting.
  • Make an application to the Victorian Civil Administration Tribunal (VCAT) who have provision for action for cases of unreasonable flow of water between properties.
  • Or seek your own independent legal advice regarding civil action available under the Water Act 1989.

Preparing your property and staying safe

Preparing your property

If your property is flood prone, you can:

  • choose permeable fencing that allows flood waters to pass through and not ‘back up
  • relocate water tanks, and gates, side and boundary fences clear of known flood paths which can exacerbate the effects of flash flooding on properties and dwellings
  • clean or mow known flood paths before wet seasons
  • reduce the risk of flooding by notifying the Council of blocked pits in the roadway and drainage network
  • avoid planting trees or altering the ground level where there is an existing or known natural overland flow paths
  • clear all guttering and downpipes.

Call Council on (03) 5422 0333 if you need to understand if your property is flood-prone or require further guidance on managing floodwater within your property.

Staying safe

You can help to stay safe by following these tips:

  • Download the Vic Emergency App
  • Tune in to ABC radio (ABC 774) for updates and weather warnings
  • Regularly check the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)
  • Make sure your emergency kit is ready and easily accessible
  • Secure all loose outdoor furniture and objects
  • Make sure your pets and animals are safely sheltered
  • Disconnect electrical appliances that are not in use
  • Never enter canals, streams or rivers when in flood
  • Never enter flood waters. This includes waterways and roads.

For emergency assistance during a flood or storm, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 13 25 00

For more tips on how to prepare for a floods and storms, visit the SES website

Blocked and overflowing drains

There are a range of different drains, culverts and pits in the Macedon Ranges, some are maintained by Council, other agencies or property owners. 

To find out more and report an issue, see Blocked and overflowing drains