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.

Levee Banks

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.

River safety

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: 

Inland Water Safety

No One is Drown Proof

The Bare Facts

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)
1844 Oct 10.97
1852 25 June 10.67
1853 July  10.90 
1867 July 9.32 
1869 July  9.09
1870 28 April 10.67 

May 10.06

June 9.22 
1878  Nov 8.99
1879 20 Sept 9.35 
1887 8 July 8.38
1891 20 Jan 9.25 

29 June 10.46

13 July 9.38

6 Aug 8.53
1892 20 Oct 8.34
1894 28 March 8.61

23 April 9.17

29 June 8.41

21 July 8.31

12 Sept  8.74
1900  31 May 8.56 

7 July  9.98
1905  14 July 8.38
1906 6 Oct  8.89
1916 31 Aug 8.23 

9 Oct 8.76
1917 21 July 8.31 

23 Aug 8.53

8 Oct 8.31 

24 Oct 8.51 
1922 31 July 9.17
1925 30 May 10.13 
1931* 13 June 8.76

26 June 9.65
1934    18 Aug 8.53 

28 Oct 9.14
1939 26 Aug 8.61
1950 25 March 10.13

6 April 9.07 

24 Oct 8.92
1952 3 June 8.38

19 June 9.79

6 June 8.38

31 Oct 8.84
1955 29 Aug  8.43
1956 5 May 8.31

19 May 8.46 

16 June  9.12

29 June 9.58

10 July 8.99

20 July  8.59

28 July 8.71

21 Oct 8.56
1959 24 Oct 9.17
1960 28 Sept 8.99
1970+ 26 Sept 8.86

1 Oct  8.69 
1971 14 Feb 8.46
1974 14 April 8.93

30 Aug 10.74

7 Sept  9.19

7 Oct  8.92

19 Oct 9.22
1975 27 June 8.41

29 June 8.23

15 July  8.66

29 Oct 9.57
1976  20 Oct 9.40 
1978  12 Sept 8.92
1983 Aug 8.86
1984 30 Jan 8.94

31 July 8.97
1989 7 April 9.06

17 April  9.41
1991  15 July 9.61
1993 6 Oct 8.8
2010 17 October 8.7

06 December 9.7
2012 08 March 10.56

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