Brisbane River flooding 'avoidable'

Confirmation of an earlier posting (on 15th.) here. The bureaucracy replies that although what they did was hugely damaging, it "was in accordance with the operating manual"! Brains not required, apparently

THE Brisbane River flooding would have been largely avoided if dam operators had raised their releases of water on the weekend before last Monday's deluge, an engineer claims.

Engineer Michael O'Brien told The Australian the river flood and the devastation of thousands of homes was inevitable after a decision to release relatively low volumes of water from the Wivenhoe Dam on Friday, January 7, and over the ensuing weekend.

He said over that weekend the dam's operators released a total of about 200,000 megalitres. Scrutiny of official water-release and dam volume data shows the flood would have been moderate at worst in Brisbane had there been larger releases in the days before the deluge, he said.

Mr O'Brien, whose written review is based on publicly available data released by the Queensland government-owned dam's operators, SEQWater, said full disclosure is vital to reassure people that the dam was operated responsibly.

However, SEQWater Grid chief executive Barry Dennien has insisted that although the January 8-9 releases were relatively low compared with what occurred in the days afterwards, this was in accordance with the operating manual to mitigate flooding. He said that nobody had foreseen the extreme rainfall that ensued.


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