A report released this week by Engineers Australia has supported technical decisions made by dam engineers during the Wivenhoe Dam Crisis in 2011, while calling for a more consistent approach to flood management throughout Australia.

The organisation has completed a comprehensive analysis of the implications of the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry’s Final Report and its recommendations for engineering professionals. The report, collated by senior engineers and flood-experts from Engineers Australia’s Queensland Division Flood Committee, highlights the intense and highly complex challenges faced by the dam engineers responding to the flood crisis in 2011. The report also focuses on four key areas concerning flooding and floodplain management including; planning, resilience, response and implementation.

In a statement, Steven Goh, Engineers Australia Queensland Division President, said that given the circumstances, dam operators performed ‘appropriately’ in the crisis.

Goh explained that currently floodplain management is the responsibility of local authorities, with some input from state and federal advisors. “This approach is inconsistent across the state, resulting in varying flood management,” he said, suggesting that having a more consistent approach throughout the state and Australia-wide would be a valuable contribution to mitigating the damage and providing a better level of community safety throughout all parts of Queensland.

“Engineers have a critical role to play in protecting the community, particularly in times of crisis,” Goh added. “Engineers Australia believes that the most important lessons to be learnt from the 2011 floods are those that go towards ensuring that improvements in floodplain management, flood preparedness and emergency services are implemented throughout the state for the future.”

Goh suggested that community awareness programs to understand appropriate responses to flooding should be implemented well in advance of flood-crisis situations, stating that: “Severe flooding has occurred in the past and can happen again. Ongoing community engagement and education is crucial during non-flood periods for the protection and safety of society.”

The complete Engineers Australia QLD Flood Report is available online at: www.engineersaustralia.org.au/queensland-division

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