Murrumbidgee River & Floods
Murrumbidgee River, Photo by Angus McGeoch
Aboriginal for "Plenty Water" or "Big Water"
The Murrumbidgee River, which flows through the City area, is an important river of the Murray-Darling system. Rising in the Snowy Mountains near Kiandra (NSW), the river flows in a general westerly direction until it discharges into the Murray River. It is 1609 km in length.
The City of Wagga Wagga is situated on the south bank of the Murrumbidgee River with the village of North Wagga Wagga, the first settlement, on the north. North Wagga Wagga is on land enclosed between the Northern flood plain and the river, on land slightly higher than the surrounding flood plain.
The early development south of the river was in the southern flood plain and the Court House/Gurwood Street School sand ridge. Later development was on adjacent rising ground, between the river and Wollundry Lagoon. Over the years development moved south, initially on the southern flood plain area between the Wollundry lagoon and the Railway Line and then to the higher ground south of the Railway Line out of the southern flood plain.
For information on flood management, please click here.
After the 1956 floods Council decided to provide levee bank protection for the City area on the south flood plain. The year of 1956 was one of excessive rainfall in the catchment and frequent flooding in the minor range, with eight floods between 8.30m and 8.99m and one low level major flood of 9.58 m occurring.
The main commercial area of Wagga is protected by a levee which was constructed in the early 1960's. It was upgraded in the late 1970's and again in 1983 to accommodate problems that became apparent in the 1974 flood, to a 1 in 100 year standard. Temporary levees, in one form or another, had also been constructed around the village of North Wagga Wagga since 1936. These were formalised as a 1 in 20 year levee in 1990.
The northern floodway area is protected by low banks constructed in 1971 across the end of Kurrajong Lagoon and at the property "Eunonyhareenyha". An earlier bank existed on "Whyanawah". A levee which protects Gumly Gumly was temporarily constructed after the 1974 flood and formalised to a 1 in 10 year height in 1992. There is also an unlicensed bank from North Wagga Wagga to Gobba Weir which holds water out of the northern flood plain to a height of 9.0m.
|Year||Date||Recorded Height (Metres)|
Floods of 8.3m and over read at Hampden Bridge gauge at Wagga Wagga.
* From 1926 post Burinjuck Dam.
+From 1968 post Blowering Dam.