Being prepared for flooding

Floods cost Melburnians on average $735 million a year and can have wide-ranging consequences causing long-term stress and disruption.

Floods can cause loss of life and injury, and impacts to property, transportation, infrastructure and natural environments. The personal and social costs of flooding can be significant when dealing with damage to homes and vehicles, and the loss of pets and possessions of personal value.

The good news is that a well prepared community can reduce the impact of flooding by up to 80%.

Melbourne Water works alongside the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), Australian Red Cross and councils to deliver community flood preparedness awareness and education programs.

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Checking your local flood risk

Regardless of where you live in the Port Phillip and Westernport region of Victoria, your property could be at risk of flooding.

In particular, it is vital for homes on low-lying land close to creeks and rivers or near stormwater drains to know their risk, be prepared and act safely in the event of a flood.

The first step is to check your local flood risk by using the VICSES local flood guides.

Local flood guides help you understand the risk of riverine and flash flooding in your area, which areas are low lying, how flood warnings work and how to prepare yourself, your home or your business.

Find your local guide

Actions you can take

Even if you can only do one thing, it's a step in the right direction to getting prepared in the event of a flood. Here is a list of simple actions you can take to plan and prepare for floods.

Visit VICSES's website to view Information in other languages.

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Create an emergency plan

You can do this by downloading the Australian Red Cross Get Prepared app or completing their Rediplan template. The app allows you to:

  • locate your local emergency services contacts and information
  • identify a safe meeting place for you and loved ones
  • create checklists of what to do and what to pack.

Australian Red Cross website


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Sign up to receive alerts and warnings

The VicEmergency app and website provides Victorians with access to information and warnings about incidents including fires, storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, shark sightings and more.

VicEmergency website


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Prepare an emergency flood kit

Complete the VICSES flood checklist to find out what to include in an emergency kit and other ways to get prepared.

Download the checklist


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Save emergency numbers

Keep a list of emergency numbers near the telephone or in another easy-to-find place.



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Check your insurance

Check if your home and contents insurance covers flooding.


Visit the VICSES website for more information on How to plan and prepare for floods.

Flood resilient guide to retrofitting your home

Interior of home that has been retrofitted to be resilient to flooding
Interior of flood-resilient home. Photo: Scott Burrows

Melbourne Water has developed the Flood Resilient Guide to Retrofitting Your Home for homeowners who have experienced flooding and want to reduce the impacts of future flood events. Through retrofitting, it’s possible to save costs in the long term by avoiding temporary relocation and repairs.

The guide has been created for existing flood-affected homes that have not been built to relevant flood protection standards. It does not apply to new buildings.


What to do during and after a flood

In a flood, the most important thing to do is get out safely. For help, call the Victoria State Emergency Service on 132 500, or if your situation is life-threatening call 000.

Always keep yourself safe. Floodwater is a powerful force and there are many unseen dangers. You can’t see what lies under the water. Roads can be washed away, bridges can be damaged and floodwater may contain sewage and debris.

To help stay safe:

  • Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater
  • Never allow children to play in or near floodwater
  • If evacuated, do not return until it is safe to do so
  • Follow the advice of authorities. 

For more information see VICSES's Floodsafe website.

Last updated:
14 December 2020