Council welcome advice of inquiry

Sarah

FLEMING

sarah.fleming

@gattonstar.com.au

ONE of the worst flood affected local governments, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, has welcomed the findings of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry's interim report, released on Monday.

The report recommended the installation of alarms in creeks at Spring Bluff, Murphys Creek and other communities with the possibility of swift water level rises and poor communication systems.

It also advised councils to identify areas in danger of flooding and to establish evacuation points and centres as well as instructing Lockyer Valley Regional Council to immediately develop a plan for the removal of debris from waterways across the valley before the wet season.

Lockyer Valley Regional Mayor, Steve Jones, said all the recommendations would be for the improvement of disaster management in the region.

“I think given the enormity of the situation, most of the recommendations are not surprising,” he said.

“The recommendations in the report are all appropriate given that now we have seen what the creek can do.

“I think if we went back to January 9 and someone said we were going to have an event like we had on January 10, we would have been shocked.

“The most important recommendation in the report is the removal of the debris in the creeks.

“This is something council has been on about from the beginning and it's too big a task for individual councils to remove the tonnes of debris in the creek.”

An expert hydrologist engaged by the commission, Dr Phillip Jordan, observed in evidence that it seemed unlikely that vegetation growing in or immediately adjacent to watercourses contributed significantly to the amount of debris washed downstream as compared with the amount of debris of other vegetation stripped from land beyond creek beds and banks and man made objects.

Cr Jones said the report mentioned of the implementation of early warning systems.

“It is important for the future that these devices are implemented, however had there been these things in place I think it unlikely that people would have removed themselves or gone to higher ground given the history of Grantham and the Lockyer Valley,” he said.

 

In the Somerset region, the report recommended Seqwater review all arrangements for the operation of the dams during flood events for the entire wet season by September 30 each year, and ensure that all parties are adequately prepared.

Wivenhoe Dam was advised to have its water level reduced to 75% if extreme wet seasons are predicted in future.

The commission's report said the lowering measure should be taken if the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicted heavy rain.

BOM predicted a particularly wet summer for 2010-11 before the flood disaster and no preventative releases were made.


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