Queensland Flood Resilience Program

Catchment-wide floodplain management builds resilience

With flooding one of the biggest threats across the state, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) is delivering the Queensland Flood Resilience Program to assist communities build resilience.

As part of the Queensland Strategy for Disaster Resilience, this program explores flood management and resilience issues on a catchment-wide basis because floodwaters don’t obey council or government boundaries.

As the most disaster impacted state in Australia, it is critical communities cooperate to explore new ways to work together to improve safety, build resilience, and minimise the impacts of floodwaters.

The Queensland Flood Resilience Program builds on the Strategic Policy Framework for Riverine Flood Risk Management and Community Resilience by delivering greater coordination for how communities manage flood hazards. 

Catchment-wide floodplain management includes:

  • co-design and shared ownership of resilience implementation activities
  • building organisational resilience at the local level to improve capability and capacity
  • building community resilience and ownership of risk and responsibility through a more community-oriented focus of resilience practice
  • identifying and prioritising resilience activities at a catchment-scale to drive improved connection between funding and local needs. 

Queensland flood resilience projects

The following projects are being delivered in partnership with a range of stakeholders including local governments, state agencies and the Bureau of Meteorology.

QRA is working with key stakeholders including the Bureau of Meteorology and local governments to action the recommendations from the Performance Review of the Flood Warning Gauge Network in Queensland, issued in December 2015. The review investigated the adequacy of flood warning infrastructure used by the Bureau of Meteorology to provide flood warnings and forecasts for flood prone communities. The review made a series of recommendations for future improvements about how Queensland’s flood gauge warning network should be managed and coordinated.

Flood waters don’t respect government boundaries and all levels of government should have information from one another’s flood warning systems to keep their communities safe.

Queensland’s flood warning gauge network comprises 3400 rainfall and river gauges for flood warnings and forecasts that are owned and operated by 54 entities. Therefore a high level of collaboration and information sharing is necessary to ensure accurate and consistent flood warning information is being provided to the Bureau of Meteorology and our local communities.  

The following initiatives are underway to address the recommendations from the performance review to ensure that people in flood prone communities across Queensland have appropriate warning of flood events.

Flood Gauge Network Investment Plans for local governments
Queensland Gauge Asset Review
Queensland Flood Forecast Location Review
Burnett Catchment Flood Resilience Strategy

Flood Gauge Network Investment Plans for local governments

QRA has partnered with a range of stakeholders including the Bureau of Meteorology and local governments to identity possible improvements to their flood warning systems and networks. 62 councils were provided with Flood Gauge Warning Network Investment Plans to assist with prioritising new and upgraded flood warning infrastructure. Local governments are now encouraged to apply for grant funding to carry out investments to their flood warning infrastructure. The Bureau of Meteorology and other gauge asset owners also have the information they need to make informed decisions about future system improvements.

Development of the plans has also enabled information sharing between catchment stakeholders for increased visibility of flood warning gauge data and assets between different agencies and neighbouring councils, which in turn will enable better efficiencies and planning.

Future network improvements resulting from recommendations in the Network Investment Plans include:

  • new or upgrade flood gauge assets to a standard approved by the Bureau of Meteorology
  • the related transmission of data will be suitable for use by the Bureau of Meteorology
  • improvements to real-time visibility of data to relevant local governments, the State Disaster Coordination Centre and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Queensland Gauge Asset Review

The Queensland Gauge Asset Review is being managed by the Bureau of Meteorology. The purpose of the review is to update a range of information for flood gauges in Queensland that will inform the Bureau of Meteorology’s Service Level Specification for Flood Forecasting and Warning Services for the state.

QRA undertook the gauge audit for the Brisbane River Catchment as part of its work in delivering the Brisbane River Catchment Flood Studies in 2017. The process confirmed that 11 stakeholders own 386 gauges located in the Brisbane River catchment, including 35 gauges that were previously not documented.

Stakeholder workshop involving Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset and Lockyer Valley councils in 2017

Image: Stakeholder workshop involving Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset and Lockyer Valley councils in 2017

Queensland Flood Forecast Location Review

The Performance Review of the Flood Warning Gauge Network in Queensland made recommendations for additional locations that may require a flood forecast service.

QRA worked collaboratively with the Bureau of Meteorology and local governments to review the number of flood forecast locations in Queensland and confirmed that 11 of the 92 locations identified in the performance review require more detailed investigation for a flood warning service, based on their flood risk.  

These locations have been prioritised on the basis of flood risk and proximity to existing flood forecast locations. QRA has submitted a proposal to the Bureau of Meteorology for Queensland to receive 11 new flood forecast locations.

QRA will now work with the Bureau of Meteorology and respective local governments to determine what additional information and computer modelling is required to provide a forecasting service for the 11 identified flood forecast locations.  

Queensland Flood Forecast Location Review

Temporary levees are similar to permanent levees, however are only short-term structures which are constructed prior to the onset of flooding to prevent water from inundating areas of the floodplain, and are then removed once the flood has receded. This requires the levee to be stored near the intended site, and people to be responsible for its construction.

The QRA, local governments and state agencies are working together on a long-term plan to manage the impact of future floods and enhance community safety and resilience in the Burnett Catchment. The purpose of the strategy is to test a consistent and coordinated approach to managing flood risk across the four local councils located within the catchment.

This pilot project is adopting a whole-of-catchment approach, which will enable stakeholders to understand the big picture and better manage flood risk together.

The project commenced in October 2017 and is scheduled for completion in mid-2018. QRA will evaluate the outcomes of the pilot project to inform the potential for future catchment-scale resilience strategies as a key deliverable of the Queensland Strategy for Disaster Resilience, including taking an all hazards approach.

State-wide consultation in 2016

The pilot project concept has been informed by QRA consultation with local governments in 2016, which identified a local desire for assistance in improved mapping, data management, risk intelligence and strategy development to help inform local floodplain management policy and resilience activities.

Consultation with local governments also identified that only one in four local governments have a formal collaboration structure with other local governments, therefore a facilitated catchment approach was identified as an opportunity to strengthen local networks and information sharing.

Regional-scale flood resilience strategies will identify ways of working together to ensure a consistent approach to managing flood risk across local government boundaries, to ensure that decisions made in one part of the catchment are aligned to common objectives and capability is improved over time.

Other Flood Resilience projects delivered in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy include:

Related documents

Burnett River Flood Resilience Strategy Fact Sheet (PDF / 3.07 MB)