Strange aberrations – bigger than a one-in-100 year flood in the Lockyer

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman today defended his town plan and remained optimistic about the future of riverfront living in Brisbane, even though Brisbane has now experienced two major floods in the last 37 years:

Brisbane mayor insists town planners not to blame for flood destruction

Mr Newman noted:

”The Lockyer Creek had a huge part to play with what happened in the Brisbane River.”

He said the standard was the Q100 one-in-100 year flood.

”These strange aberrations seems to be in my view as an ex-professional engineer is that we’ve had a more than one-in-100 year flood in the Lockyer.”

The Lord Mayor may be anticipating an adverse finding against his town planning policies by the Government’s flood inquiry, which we hope doesn’t descend into a blame game – we’re all geniuses in hindsight after all. One hopes the inquiry offers a genuine review of our water management and flood mitigation policies, including whether we should run Wivenhoe Dam at a lower level, boosting its flood mitigation capacity, and augmenting our water supply with the Tugun desalinization plant. Hopefully the inquiry is skeptical about the superficially attractive idea of levees on the Brisbane river, which would ruin the beautiful views we have of the river, reducing Brisbane’s livability and attractiveness to tourists.

Regardless of whether the Lord Mayor’s belief in the freak nature of the flood is supported by the Government’s flood inquiry, the Lord Mayor may well be right that riverside residents won’t be deterred from enjoying their usually enviable lifestyle by a flood that only comes along once every generation or so. According to the Lord Mayor, as reported by the Courier-Mail:

…many waterfront residents along the Brisbane River had told him they had enjoyed years of river views free of flooding and this once in a lifetime event was not going to chase them away.

Good on them. As was said in the classic Australian film Strictly Ballroom, “A life lived in fear is a life half lived.”

In other flood-related news, ANZ bank economists have come out with a plausible forecast of the cost of rebuilding after the floods, estimated at around $20 billion:

Rebuilding after flood to cost 1.5pc of GDP, say ANZ economists

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