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Adapting flood plans to areas

21 January, 2011

Tailored flooding solutions which cater to the unique requirements of the area are required, if we are able to adequately manage future flooding risks.

This is according to Associate Professor Charles Lemckert, from the School of Engineering, Griffith University, who says that the flooding incident in the Lockyer Valley was a very different flood to those seen in the Brisbane and Rockhampton areas.

'The Lockyer was a catastrophic event in terms of speed and behaviour, while the other was the type of flood we have seen many times before, including in Brisbane in 1974,' says Associate Professor Lemckert.

'In Queensland, like many other parts of the world, we build cities on flood plains as this is flat land located near shipping channels and the ocean.

'As a consequence, we will encounter times when these areas flood; what we need to do is to determine ways to best manage them.

'For example, we can build levees, but these are expensive and destroy views for the public. We could build more dams, but only if there were suitable sites, to try to hold back the water - but at what cost to the environment and land?

'If we build dams, how full should they be kept? If they are too full they can overflow in a flood. However, if they are kept too low, to minimise flooding, they may drop down too rapidly during droughts and the public may be asked to endure water restrictions, pay for desalination,or drink purified recycled water.

'We could just put up with it and seek to minimise damage through improved house design and planned rapid recovery actions. Maybe,even consider land resumption for the worst areas - but at what cost?'

Overall, says Associate Professor Lemckert, 'we need to seek holistic solutions with all parties made aware of the consequences of the decisions made'.

Source: Griffith University

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