New research predicts extreme flooding in Queensland’s future

Posted 17 January 2017

QLD Flood.jpgSix years after Queensland’s devastating Lockyer Creek floods, new research reveals a long history of extreme flooding in South-East Queensland – and warns of possible future ones.

Entitled The Big Flood, the report predicts an unsettling future, said Associate Professor Jacky Croke of University of Queensland’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“History has an uncomfortable way of repeating itself,” she said.

“The goal of our research was to contribute to the understanding, prediction and management of extreme flooding events in the Lockyer Valley and broader South-East Queensland (SEQ) region.

“Government, industry and university colleagues worked on the Australian Research Council Linkage-funded project, which reconstructed a time series of major floods for Lockyer Creek going back 2000 years,” Croke said. 

Examinations of the region’s geological and hydrological records showed extreme flooding occurred in the Lockyer Creek region in 500 AD, 1300s and in the 1700s. Historical and gauging station information pinpointed an additional two from the 1890s and 1970s.

The study aims to use data collected about past floods in the area to help prepare for those that are likely to happen in the future. 

“Consistently defining floodplain types, spill-out zones and locations of high stream power, and aligning management actions with the right erosion process would take SEQ a long way to better flood hazard management and downstream water quality protection,” Croke said. 

“We identified actions can be undertaken to meet the future objectives of improved flood hazard mapping and ‘keeping soil on the paddock’ through appropriate catchment action plans.”

The project involved researchers from Macquarie University, the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, the University of Wollongong, Griffith University, the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, and Seqwater.