Ipswich at forefront of efforts to better predict flash flooding

Ipswich City Council’s floodplain  management team (L-R) Ben Walker, Adam Berry and Hoy Sung Yau with the Excellence in Research Innovation award

Any property owner or resident in an area prone to flash flooding will understand the stress of not knowing when or if flooding will happen during heavy rainfall.

Over the last five years Ipswich City Council in collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology and Advisian (which supplies the platform) have been building and progressively improving the city’s flash flooding forecasting system.

Ipswich is making strides towards this goal for the benefit of the city and its residents.

The platform was awarded the Stormwater Queensland’s 2018 Awards for Excellence under the Excellence in Research and Innovation category.

While most residents would be familiar with large riverine floods, flash flooding is an equally if not more dangerous type of flooding within the city.

Flash floods occur quickly and do not provide adequate warning times for residents or council’s emergency management services to prepare. It is usually associated with heavy and intense rainfall over the city’s many creeks and overland flow paths.

Accurate and timely flash flood forecasting is therefore a very difficult goal to achieve.

No flash flooding forecasting system is ever 100 per cent accurate or perfect but what it does do is provide valuable information to council’s emergency management decision-makers during a flood event.

The forecasting system has been in use in past events such as ex-tropical cyclones Marcia and Debbie, and several east coast lows.

Ipswich City Council’s flash flood forecasting system has been recognised as a pioneer in the industry and among local government authorities in Queensland.

The system is managed by a small team of floodplain management engineers in council’s Works, Parks and Recreation Department.

This collaborative effort has culminated in a recent prestigious award which recognised council’s flash flood forecasting system and the associated research, development and innovative outcomes achieved by the partnership over the years.


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