Murrumbidgee River & Floods
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 1609km in length.
The word Murrumbidgee is derived from Marrambidya, which is Wiradjuri for 'Plenty Water' or 'Big Water'.
Northern Flood Plain
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.
Southern 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 9.58m 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.
Swim safe at our river
- Always enter the water slowly, feet first, NEVER dive in.
- NEVER swim in fast flowing water. Check the speed first by throwing in a twig to see how fast it travels.
- NEVER swim alone.
- Swim Safe. Swim Sober. Do not swim under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
- Riverbeds may be uneven, unstable or slippery, so take care.
- Be sure of your own swimming ability.
- Beware of any submerged objects such as trees,branches, rocks and discarded rubbish.
- Look for eddies and swirling water, this may indicate rocks or snags just below the surface.
- Always wear a PFD when in a water craft.
- REMEMBER THE RIVER CAN CHANGE HOURLY. WHAT WAS SAFE IN THE MORNING MAY NOT BE SAFE IN THE AFTERNOON.
Caught in a current?
Things to remember:
- If you are caught in a river current stay calm, float on your back, feet first to protect your head from impact with any object.
- Try to remain as horizontal as possible to assist with buoyancy.
- Use any available buoyant object to assist with floatation.
- Breathe in a regular and controlled manner and try to remain as still as possible to conserve energy and reduce heat loss.
- Do not struggle against the current, go with the flow, eventually it will push you towards the bank.
- If you must swim, use slow, relaxed strokes.
- REMEMBER EVEN IF YOU ARE EXHAUSTED, YOU CAN FLOAT FOR A LONG TIME, SO STAY CALM.
Download our safety brochures below:
This is a joint initiative between Royal Life Saving NSW and the City of Wagga Wagga.
Murrumbidgee River Peak Heights by Year
|YEAR||DATE||RECORDED HEIGHT (Metres)|