The Paterson River Flood Study covers the area from Vacy to the confluence with the Hunter River, including the areas of Vacy, Paterson, Tocal, Woodville, Wallalong and Hinton. Maitland and Port Stephens Councils appointed WMAwater to undertake the Study. Dungog Council is also providing input to the study.

The Flood Study aims to understand and determine the nature and extent of potential flooding of the Paterson River from Vacy (Upstream of the confluence of the Paterson and Allyn River) to Hinton. The first stage of the Flood Study will collect, compile and review all available information, including valuable community knowledge and experiences.

As part of the study, computer models will be established to determine the extent and nature of flooding of the Paterson River. In order to determine the accuracy of such models, historical data such as observations and photos of flooding behaviour from the community are required.


In April 2015 the Paterson and Williams Rivers both experienced major flooding, with devastating consequences throughout the valley. Three people were killed in flash flooding and at Dungog there was significant damage to houses, with some properties being washed off their footings. The flood appears to be the highest at the Gostwyck Bridge gauge since detailed records were established in 1928. There is some uncertainty about this, as the records are patchy, and the gauge has been moved several times.

It is extremely important that accurate data about the flood is collected, so that the flood problem can be well understood, and informed decisions can be made about how best to mitigate future flood risks. WMAwater and Council personnel will be undertaking data collection in the days following the flood.


We are specifically interested in records of flooding such as photographs, flood marks (such as debris marks on buildings or signs) or any accounts or observations that residents of the valley may have. A questionnaire is available online:

Alternatively, please contact Dan Morgan or Rhys Hardwick Jones at WMAwater (

Feedback from the community will be analysed and used to establish accurate computer flood models of the study area.

After data collection, the preliminary results will be produced and a draft study will be placed on public exhibition. You will be invited to view and comment on the study and public forums will be held to present and discuss the results of the study.

About the Author

Peter Brady ()