Backflow devices for stormwater drainage

Brisbane is built on a floodplain which means that we will never be able to prevent flooding. However, Brisbane City Council is committed to managing and reducing the risks of flooding to ensure our city remains safe and liveable.

We all have a role to play in managing the impacts of flooding on our city. Use our Flood Awareness Map to understand your flood risk and learn how you can be prepared with our Flooding in Brisbane - a guide for residents and Flooding in Brisbane - a guide for businesses.

During the January 2011 flood, parts of Brisbane were affected by backflow flooding, when water from the Brisbane River came up through the drainage network and flooded Brisbane streets. Following this, Council designed and installed backflow devices at various locations throughout the city to help reduce backflow flooding from occuring. 

Download a map of backflow device locations in Brisbane (Word - 1.2Mb).

Backflow devices reduce the chance of backflow flooding by preventing water from flowing back up stormwater drainage and are one of the many ways Council helps to manage flooding in Brisbane.

View a series of figures showing backflow device scenarios (Word - 555kb).

Following the 2011 river flood event, Council installed 66 backflow devices at 16 locations along the Brisbane River to help protect areas from backwater flooding. These devices are part of a suite of tools Council employs to provide flood resilience to the community. Ongoing operational testing is untaken at low tide and king tide.

Despite backflow devices being in place, flooding may still occur from other flood sources. Prepare your home and family for flooding by visiting flooding in Brisbane.

Future backflow device works will be considered in Council’s future drainage program, which is subject to Council’s annual budget and citywide priorities.

Frequently asked questions

Is my property now flood-free because of a backflow device?

A backflow device may reduce the impact of backflow flooding from the Brisbane River. Depending on the location and conditions, flooding can still occur from multiple sources.

What are the limitations of backflow devices?

Backflow devices can reduce the impact of flooding on areas impacts by backflow flooding, but flooding can still occur from other sources depending on the location and conditions. Residents and businesses should still prepare for flooding to minimise the impact of flooding on their property.

How do I find the location of my nearest backflow device?

The map on this page shows the approximate location of Brisbane River backflow devices. These devices are located within the drainage network. Council strongly discourages residents from entering the drainage network or waterways. 

To report an issue with a backflow device, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

There is heavy rain and my local backflow device is not closed. Why?

Some backflow devices self-close depending on hydraulic conditions. Council follows strict operating procedures to ensure the safe operation of these devices.

More information

If you would like more information on the backflow device program, you can:

  • phone Council on 07 3403 8888
  • write to:
    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001.
Last updated: 23 December 2020

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.