Colac Otway Shire

Flood information for the Colac Otway Shire, encompassing local flood guide and Municipal Flood Emergency Plan.

On this page:


colac-ottway municipal map
  Colac Otway municipal map.

Parts of Colac Otway Shire can experience both riverine and flash flooding. The Barham River, flowing down from the Otway Ranges, cuts through the western side of Apollo Bay and, during prolonged rainfall, the river swells, forming a natural floodplain.

Flooding at Apollo Bay and the surrounding area can result in the closure of the Great Ocean Road because of the risks of landslides, which can isolate the town for days after a flood.

The lead time to respond to a flood event may be limited. All households and businesses at risk of flooding should develop an emergency plan and beware of their flood risk.

Are you at risk of flood?

Colac-Ottway flood map
  Click to enlarge.

Apollo Bay’s location next to the sea and the Barham River plus its history of heavy rainfall means that the town is open to several potential flood risks.

Currently, the main risks are of riverine flooding (from the river) and flash flooding (from heavy rainfall). In the past, Apollo Bay’s floodplain fills whenever there is heavy rainfall.

In November 2007 flooding resulted in the Barham River flats being submerged under a metre of water.

Local roads were cut and floodwater surrounded some properties for extended periods of time. Though the Barham River normally drains out to Bass Strait, this can be disrupted by freshwater flows from both Barham River and Anderson Creek.

One of the outcomes is flooding of the paddocks in the upper part of the estuary. On June 11, 2007, flooding in the town was caused by only two days of heavy rain that fell across the Otway Ranges.

As well as the current flood risks, a longer term risk is from rising sea levels, which in the future could affect much of Australia’s coastline including Apollo Bay, increasing the frequency and consequences of flooding near the coast.

About Flood Guides

Communities can use local flood guides to identify and better understand their local flood risk. They include information about: flood history, how to prepare & respond to floods and who to contact.

Contact Information

For more information, contact the  South West Regional office.
For information on flood warnings, see the VicEmergency website.
Visit the Colac Otway Shire website.
Your local Catchment Mangement Authority: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

Local VICSES Units

  • Colac VICSES Unit: 
    87 Wilson Street,
  • Colac, Victoria
  • Otway VICSES Unit:
  • 10 Lavers Hill-Cobden Rd,
  • Beech Forest, Victoria

Municipal Flood Emergency Plan (MFEP)

Municipalities can use Municipal Flood Emergency Plans to prepare, respond and recover from flood and storm events. 
Colac Ottway  Emergency Plan - Updated April , 2015