South Australia has a dry climate but many parts of Adelaide and the state can flood. Flooding is one of the most damaging natural disasters for our State’s economy.

The highest rainfall In South Australia occurs in the winter months but floods can occur at any time. Flooding can be caused by rivers, storm water, dam release or a high tide combined with a storm surge on the coast.

Flooded road

Flash flooding, rapid flooding after heavy rainfall, is often difficult to forecast and can occur with little warning. It is more likely to happen in urban areas due to large areas of roofs and roads which make the water run off quickly.

Rising sea levels and the increasing number of people living in urban parts of the floodplain increases the risk of flooding in urban areas.

Climate change is expected to increase the intensity of rainfall events.

Download a PDF copy of the SA SES Flood Checklist.


8 simple things you can do now to prepare for a flood

If you live, work or visit a flood?prone area there are 8 things you can do now to prepare for floods:

  • know your risk – find out about the local flood history (Council, website ?)
  • know where to go
  • know who to call – for emergency assistance call 132 500
  • know your emergency plan
  • get your emergency kit together
  • prepare now to act early
  • check your insurance for flood coverage
  • check local media for information, updates and advice.

Shortly before a flood you can:

  • check local media for information, updates and advice
  • locate and get ready to activate your emergency plan
  • locate and check your emergency kit
  • check on your neighbours and make sure they are aware of the flood warning.

How to sandbag your home


During a flood

  • stack possessions, records, stock or equipment onto benches and tables, placing electrical items on top; move waste containers, chemicals and poisons above floor level
  • secure objects that are likely to float and cause damage
  • check local media for information, updates and advice
  • keep in contact with your neighbours
  • be prepared to evacuate if advised by emergency services
  • never drive, ride or walk through floodwater
  • act early as roads may be closed or obstructed by flooding or obstacles.

When you return home after a flood

  • make sure the electricity and gas is turned off before going inside
  • use a torch to carry out inspections inside buildings
  • check for damage to windows, walls and the roof
  • if any power points, electrical equipment or systems have been exposed to floodwater or are water damaged in any way, you must get them inspected by a qualified electrician before you use them
  • you should get gas appliances and bottles that have been exposed to floodwater inspected before you use them
  • drink only bottled or boiled water until the normal water supply has been declared safe by health authorities
  • do not allow children to play in or near floodwaters.

Detailed information on what to do after a flood can be found on the SA Gov Flood Emergency page.

Temporary relief centres

After a flood the state government may set-up temporary relief centres which offer short term shelter. Read more at the SA Gov After an emergency page.