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6 years since tragic floods: Research warns history repeats

Floodwaters rush down East Ck during the 2011 floods.
Floodwaters rush down East Ck during the 2011 floods. Andrew Backhouse

RESEARCHERS are warning history has a devastating tendency to repeat itself when it comes to extreme flooding in South-East Queensland.

The University of Queensland-led research project investigating the recurrence of extreme floods in South-East Queensland, has been released six years after the devastating Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley floods.

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences associate professor Jacky Croke said there was no place for complacency.

"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 flood events in the Lockyer Valley and broader South-East Queensland region.

"We discovered major floods occurred on the Lockyer Creek in 500AD, 1300 and in the 1700s - well before historical and gauging station information was available - and in the 1890s and 1970s.

East creek near Chalk Drive. Toowoomba flash flood aftermath. Photo Nev Madsen / The Chronicle
East creek near Chalk Drive. Toowoomba flash flood aftermath. Photo Nev Madsen / The Chronicle Nev Madsen

"While the hydrological characteristics of the Lockyer Creek 2011 flood have been evaluated through coronial inquests, there are concerns about when the next 'big event' could occur and how other populated areas could be affected."

Ms Croke said the history of river discharge records was too short to determine the likely recurrence intervals of extreme floods, but the study had reduced uncertainty in flood prediction by about 50 per cent.

She said findings from the project made a significant contribution to the future management of floods in the region.

"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," she said.

The research will be incorporated into climate change predictions, water quality protection and river management in Australia.

On the anniversary of floods yesterday a video which the filmer said had never been released was shared on Facebook.

It was shared on Facebook page Toowoomba 4350tv  and shows how quickly flood waters can rise.

Glen Hoey filmed the incident on the corner of Neil and Bowen Sts when he owned IT Solutions.

The video starts out focusing on the rushing, yet not overflowing water of East Creek and within seven minutes the entire road is under water.

See the footage here.

Topics:  2011 floods floods lockyer valley toowoomba


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