Queensland builds resilience to extreme weather events with largest-ever flood study

Posted 25 May 2017

Brisbane RiverThe Queensland Government has released what it calls the “most detailed and comprehensive flood study ever undertaken in Australia” in an effort to help the state prepare for future extreme weather events. 

The Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study will guide local councils towards the crucial first step of developing strategies and flood resilience options, said Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Jackie Trad.

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

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

“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,” Trad said.

“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.”

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has welcomed the document's release, saying it is an important step in gaining a better understanding of the flood risks faced by the region.

“Information and awareness are crucial tools in preparing for natural disasters, and this study will enhance both,” said ICA CEO Rob Whelan.

“The data in this report can help the Queensland Government and councils develop mitigation strategies to combat flooding, and will inform planning decisions so new developments are constructed in a flood-resilient manner.

“The findings will also support efforts to increase community awareness of flood exposure, helping residents and business owners take steps to protect their assets.”

Flood study outputs include an overview and numerous technical reports

The State Government said work will now focus on developing a strategic floodplain management plan to prepare for future extreme weather events.

“Consultation will be undertaken in 2017 with key stakeholders and the community about a range of measures including flood mitigation infrastructure, land use management, improved early warning systems, community preparedness and emergency response plans,” the flood study overview stated. 

“Following the development of the Strategic Floodplain Management Plan, Local Floodplain Management Plans will be developed.”

The flood study area included parts of the Brisbane River catchment and focussed on flooding events downstream of Wivenhoe Dam including the Brisbane River, Lockyer Creek and the Bremer River system.

Hydrologic assessments investigated how combinations of rainfall, dam levels, ground conditions and tide influences could merge to create potential floods. Another piece of this puzzle was mapping how floodwaters progressed through the Brisbane River floodplain, taking into account terrain characteristics and infrastructure.