New dam strategies to protect Queensland homes
Hundreds of families in Brisbane and Ipswich could be spared the heartache of watching their homes devastated by floods thanks to improved management of the south east’s dams.
Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle today released new operational strategies for the Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams to minimise possible flooding ahead of the summer wet season.
“There is no question the region will see major flooding in the future and the Newman LNP Government is committed to doing everything it can to improve our resilience to natural disasters,” Mr McArdle said.
“The government’s strong 30 year plan for the water sector – WaterQ – recognises the challenges we face from climate variability and natural disasters, such as floods and drought.”
“In simple terms, the strategies allow more storage space in the dams to better cope with flood waters.
“In the case of Wivenhoe Dam, more water will be released earlier to minimise flooding.
“This could mean about 500 to 1,500 fewer buildings in Brisbane and Ipswich would be flooded in a repeat of the 2011 flood.
“At North Pine Dam the maximum water supply storage will be set at 90 per cent for up to 20 years.
“The Newman LNP Government is committed to making Queensland a safer place to live, work and raise a family and these measures mean communities will be better protected when flooding strikes again.”
The Wivenhoe Somerset Dam Optimisation Study (WSDOS) and the North Pine Dam Optimisation Study (NPDOS) were recommended by the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.
Seqwater chief executive Peter Dennis said the studies followed the most comprehensive analysis of dam operations in flood scenarios ever undertaken in south east Queensland.
Mr McArdle said the new Wivenhoe Dam strategy could result in some bridges, such as Colleges Crossing near Ipswich, being closed more regularly when it floods and warned that it was impossible to prevent all flooding in Brisbane and Ipswich.
“All floods are different and the Wivenhoe and Somerset dams are both upstream of Lockyer Creek and the Bremer River and cannot protect us from floods coming down those watercourses,” Mr McArdle said.
The Department of Energy and Water Supply is finalising a preliminary investigation into potential new dams and the raising of Wivenhoe Dam, with the findings due to be completed before Christmas.
Further information is available at www.dews.qld.gov.au
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