Australia – Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study Released

In Australia yesterday the Queensland government and four local councils launched their comprehensive flood study of the Brisbane River catchment.

In a statement the Queensland government said that the Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study was the most detailed and comprehensive flood study ever undertaken in Australia and will provide a greater understanding of the Brisbane River’s behaviour across four council areas in South East Queensland.

The study included 170 years of historical rainfall data and investigated 11,340 scenarios that influence flooding.

Led by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, it was delivered in collaboration with other Queensland Government departments and the local governments of Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset and Lockyer Valley, and Seqwater. The study was a key recommendation of the 2011 Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.

Queensland government says the study has delivered consistent and up-to-date technical flood data for local governments across the Brisbane River catchment, to help predict flood risk for individual properties.

The results were reviewed by an independent panel of experts to ensure they are robust and represent best practice. The data will also inform land use planning in South East Queensland.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Jackie Trad said:

“This was an incredibly comprehensive process involving more than 50,000 computer simulations which has helped us produce Australia’s first ever whole of catchment flood study,” Ms Trad said.

“The Brisbane River catchment area spans more than 13,500 square kilometres with the floodplain downstream of Wivenhoe Dam spanning the four local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset and Lockyer Valley.

“The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry recommended this study because there is currently no single flood model that councils can use that provided a common and consistent basis for land-use planning, disaster management and building community resilience.

“This study provides a comprehensive analysis of a range of potential flood events, which is a critical first step towards developing a strategy that will set out flood resilience options for the region.”

Brisbane City Council Mayor Graham Quirk said that a coordinated effort was important as the region has a long history of major floods recorded back as far as 1893.

“In the past the way we planned for flooding was divided by local government area but we know that floods have no respect for council boundaries,” Cr Quirk said.

“By focusing on the entire catchment, we are able to bring together councils and stakeholders across the Brisbane River floodplain, using comprehensive and consistent information to improve the safety of our communities.”

The flood models developed as a result of the study have been verified against the flood events that occurred in 1974, 2011 and 2013 and endorsed by an independent panel of experts.

For more information about the Flood Study and Strategic Floodplain Management Plan visit the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

Featured photo; Floods in Brisbane, 01 May 2015. Credit: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services – QFES