Australia's tragic flooding – 30 feared dead

UPDATES ADDED: See updates below the read more line

My heart goes out to Australia. The ugly side of this is that a portion of the tragedy may have been prevented with a dam to control floodwaters. But as James Delinpole writes:

Were it not for the actions of Environment Minister Peter Garrett, for example, the Queensland town of Gympie would not now be underwater. Unfortunately, Garrett took it upon himself to block the proposed dam that would have prevented it.

To add insult to injury, the state run warning system sent warning messages out six hours after the flood engulfed homes. – Anthony


Ipswich today.
My friend Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun has quite a bit of coverage, here’s an excerpt from his blog:


The disaster is extraordinary:

THE nation confronts its worst flood disaster in living memory, with 30 people believed dead and 90 missing in southeast Queensland.

The wall of water bearing down on Brisbane threatens to engulf thousands of homes and put more people at risk.

What I cannot understand is this: how was the possibility of such a danger not forseen, when climate experts and the Government claim they can predict the climate 100 years from now? How did this week’s rain come as such a surprise, when we now spend billions more on computer models predicting the future?

Some of the stories are tragic:

A three-year-old boy drowned at Ipswich, after floodwaters pulled him from his mother’s arms.


Sarah Norman yesterday told how her brother Sam punched a hole in the laundry ceiling and pushed their sister Victoria, 15, to safety after water flooded the brick home at noon on Monday.

“He went back to get Mum and Dad, but they had just gone. Victoria heard Mum scream,” Ms Norman said.

Steve Matthews, 56, an electrician and former pastor and his wife Sandy, 46, a teacher’s aide from Spring Bluff near Murphys Creek near Toowoomba, were found dead downstream on Monday afternoon.


How amazingly fast the floodwaters rose in Toowoomba.


The global warmists claimed Queensland’s rains would dry up, which is why the Labor Government built a desalination plant – now mothballed – instead of yet more dams:

(Premier Peter) Beattie said the effects of climate change on our region meant we could no longer rely on past rainfall patterns to help us plan for the future…

“My advice indicates if we continue to experience below average rainfalls it could take several years (anywhere from five to ten years) for our major dam system to climb back up past 40 percent even with purified recycled water, desalination and the other measures we’re taking to supplement our water supplies.

“Given the current uncertainty about the likely impact of climate change on rainfall patterns in SEQ over coming years, it is only prudent to assume at this stage that lower than usual rainfalls could eventuate.

But Heather Brown, a Toowoomba resident, says locals made other bad choices in the same mistaken belief that floods would not come:

Tragically, it seems some of the most basic rules of survival – and certainly the most elementary rule of town planning – were forgotten in the case of Toowoomba, a city that is dissected by East Creek and West Creek, two deceptively innocent looking little creeks that seem to run as much water as a decent suburban gutter for most of the year.

Admittedly, Toowoomba – Australia’s Garden City – has been battling drought for almost a decade… Along the way, the creeks have been prettied and preened and slotted into your typical modern urban plan. And the breadth of their flow – and their seminal right to a small flood plain – has been gradually stolen away.

At the intersections of Victoria, Margaret and Russell streets – where the boiling muddy tsunami was its fiercest and most graphically filmed – the city council had embarked on an ambitious beautification plan to turn the creek into a pleasing urban feature, complete with boardwalks, gardens, illumination and seating. Everyone thought it was wonderful, except for cynics such as my husband and me. In fact, every time we drove past the feature we would say to no one in particular: This little creek is going to make them sorry one day. Tragically, we were right.

Early yesterday morning I went back to the bruised and battered Margaret Street to support any local business that still had the heart to open. My coffee shop was handing out free coffees to the battered owners of the local businesses who had lost so much. When I went to buy my newspaper, the newsagent told me he was devastated, not because of what had happened but because the engineer who had worked on the beautification project told him he couldn’t make them listen when he pleaded for bigger pipes – “18-footers” he called them – to let the water through, because it simply didn’t suit the aesthetics of the architects and landscapers.

So that’s what happened to my city, folks, the same as happened to so much of flooded Queensland. We did stupid and really, really dumb things because we thought we could get away with them. We built the wrong sort of houses and the wrong sort of bridges. We built towns and suburbs on flood plains. And we ignored at our peril the forces of nature and the history of the great floods that have shaped this continent for thousands of years.

Read more at Andrew Bolt

UPDATE: The Herald Sun has a broad coverage Flood News Page here

UPDATE2: For some background on the Mary River dam that James Delingpole refers to there’s this entry in Wikipedia:

The question is whether it was more important to save fish or to protect people. From the Wiki article there’s this:

A University of Technology, Sydney report stated that “the proposed Traveston Dam near Gympie could pump up to 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere each year” and “even desalination, itself a last resort in a severe drought, would result in fewer emissions at 280,000 to 350,000 (annual tonnes) to yield the same quantity of water”.[10]

They apparently went with the desalinization plant, now mothballed. It seems that AGW gets into every discussion, even dams. The question has been raised as to whether or not this damn could have saved these people. I don’t know that it would or wouldn’t, but it would seem to me that more storage upstream helps in both times of drought and flood.

If it turns out that the dam would have made a difference, I hope that Environment Minister Peter Garrett will be in a public enquiry, so that people who have suffered in this tragedy can express their grief. Politicians need to hear that such actions have consequences. This isn’t the first time environmental issues have been blamed in Australian natural disasters. See this previous WUWT article on what people went through with the brush fires.

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January 12, 2011 1:16 pm

Worth reading this blog entry by an Ozzy man stuck in th efloods
Hes not happy with the eco nuts.

David, UK
January 12, 2011 1:25 pm

And all because the enviro-fascists claimed that this kind of flooding was a thing of the past due to global warming. What’s the betting they will now attribute this very flood to just that: global warming?

January 12, 2011 1:27 pm

Paging Barrie Harrop. Please talk to us again about the drought in Australia and why they need your windmill powered ro plants.

Scott R
January 12, 2011 1:28 pm

Went down to the Brisbane River near the Breakfast Creek Hotel this morning for the peak, which has turned out at 4.6m, a metre lower than ’74. In 1897 the river had 2 floods of 8m.
Saw countless pontoons and boats amongst other flotsam and jetsam of flooded homes washing out towards the mouth to be emptied into Moreton Bay, including a length or River walk pontoon about 300m long which smacked into a boat and set it free as well, amongst other damage that it caused on the way out.
Lets get something straight about the proposed dam at Gympie. As much as I am a believer in the value of dams, and also that a lot of the flooding in various parts of Qld that are currently underwater or towns that have been smashed over the last 3 weeks could have been prevented by appropriately placed dams. The particular proposal for a dam at Traveston, near Gympie, was to be built on alluvial sand flats and would have resulted in a shallow innefectual silt trap. It was definitely not a dam that should have been built. Just because Andrew Bolt down in Melbourne thinks every river should be dammed doesn’t mean that a poor proposal such as Traveston should have went ahead.

January 12, 2011 1:29 pm
Tim Flannery – the man that stopped the dams.
“power plants, farmers and households pay too little for their water, so they waste it. Water thrift is an absolute prerequisite for life in the new climate. The country also needs to shift to a new energy economy. Australia’s coal-fired power plants consume around 2 tonnes of water – for cooling and steam generation – for every megawatt-hour they produce. They also emit much of the CO2 that is the ultimate cause of the drying. Dwindling water supplies are raising the price of electricity, and to avoid an economic and environmental disaster the old coal clunkers need to be closed as quickly as possible and replaced with cleaner, less thirsty means of power generation. These could include geothermal, solar thermal, solar, wind or wave energy, and possibly clean coal. ”
Well clean coals possible. Reading these articles my thoguhts go to the Ozzies, I lived there for 18 months and there a great group of pomey bashers.

peter maddock
January 12, 2011 1:29 pm

The floods are truly tragic … but remain weather, and terrible floods are part of our (Australian) history and folk law.
One famous Australian poem (by John O’Brien) describes an alarmist called Hanrahan who if he were alive today would be part of the CAGW crusade. The poem was first published in 1921. (“rooned” would be aussie for ruined)
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
In accents most forlorn,
Outside the church, ere Mass began,
One frosty Sunday morn.
The congregation stood about,
Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
As it had done for years.
“It’s looking crook,” said Daniel Croke;
“Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
For never since the banks went broke
Has seasons been so bad.”
“It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
And chewed a piece of bark.
And so around the chorus ran
“It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”
“The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
To save one bag of grain;
From here way out to Back-o’-Bourke
They’re singin’ out for rain.
“They’re singin’ out for rain,” he said,
“And all the tanks are dry.”
The congregation scratched its head,
And gazed around the sky.
“There won’t be grass, in any case,
Enough to feed an ass;
There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
As I came down to Mass.”
“If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
And cleared his throat to speak —
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If rain don’t come this week.”
A heavy silence seemed to steal
On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.
“We want an inch of rain, we do,”
O’Neil observed at last;
But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
To put the danger past.
“If we don’t get three inches, man,
Or four to break this drought,
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”
In God’s good time down came the rain;
And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
It drummed a homely tune.
And through the night it pattered still,
And lightsome, gladsome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
Kept talking to themselves.
It pelted, pelted all day long,
A-singing at its work,
Till every heart took up the song
Way out to Back-o’-Bourke.
And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If this rain doesn’t stop.”
And stop it did, in God’s good time;
And spring came in to fold
A mantle o’er the hills sublime
Of green and pink and gold.
And days went by on dancing feet,
With harvest-hopes immense,
And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
Nid-nodding o’er the fence.
And, oh, the smiles on every face,
As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
Went riding down to Mass.
While round the church in clothes genteel
Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed his piece of bark.
“There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”

January 12, 2011 1:30 pm

We’ve had a couple of “Noddy’s” (See the kids program Noddy and Big ears for what a Noddy is) come out and try and tell s that our Evil Co2 ways are causing this.
Well I’ve got news for the “Noddy’s”.
Flood peaks are revised down and are inline with historical values.
Does this mean it’s not our evil Co2 emmitting ways? Idiots!
Can we focus on mitigating this sort of thing in the future now?
Now that we’ve wasted 30 years saving bloody fish instead of people? Now we’ve wasted 30 years of research on belief based methodology’s. Now we’ve wasted 30 years chasing politically favourable funding instead of chasing hard science and fact based observation?

January 12, 2011 1:30 pm

While any newly constructed dams would have no doubt helped, I doubt that one or several flood control dams would have prevented all of this flooding. This is ALOT of water.

January 12, 2011 1:32 pm

This is horrible. I doubt that any of those homes are salvageable, and the contents will have to be scrapped too. It’s hard to imagine any of those people ever getting their lives back to normal. Victims of Nature and idiot “experts”. Tragic.

Robert M
January 12, 2011 1:34 pm

Losing a loved one, a home, or business to flood is awful, I hope the flooding ends soon!
I lived in San Antonio for a number of years, and I understand how easy it can be to see a creek bed that is always dry, and forget what happens in wet years. The sad fact is that the pressure to develop in a flood plain is immense, and a responsible government should prevent it, but…

January 12, 2011 1:37 pm

My initial hypothesis is that a lack of tropical cyclones in the region, due to high vertical shear, helped exacerbate the stationary nature of the convection. A TC would organize it and move it away — but no such TCs around there during the past couple months…
Also, it’s in the tropics.

January 12, 2011 1:37 pm

The usual case of being run (over) by (hippie) fanatics.
You always know you’re dealing with the loud mouths and fanatics when the priorities are skewed away from “the locals”.
It has become some what odd when the ordinary common nature loving tree hugger is seen as rational in comparison for the tendency to prioritize children, women and men first, then, albeit try hard as hell to, save what can be saved with what is available with what economic means are at hand.
But the hysterical climate hippie people hating nazis want their god damn utopia or else and nothing but doom and gloom for everyone.

January 12, 2011 1:39 pm

Just for the record the worst flood in this region occurred in 1841 when the river at Ipswich peaked at 21.3m and at Brisbane at 8.43m.
Last night Ipswich peaked at around 19m and Brisbane was only 4.5m peak largely due to the fact that the Somerset and Wivenhoe dams (Built after the 1974 flood) were able to hold some of the water back as they were designed to do.
Unfortunately the government had been advised that we were going to experience continual drought and low rainfall so they filled the dams above the recommended 60% level. Had they not done that the Brisbane peak may have been lower. (the Wivenhoe Dam water enters the system below Ipswich)

January 12, 2011 1:40 pm

Natural disasters are tragic. And while things can be done to mitigate them, the simple fact they are “Natural Disasters” means they can not be prevented. Environmentalists are not out to save the environment, but just to remove man from it. They are under the mistaken impression that man is not a part of the environment. And that is why they are hostile to anything of man – including freedom, life, and liberty.

January 12, 2011 1:46 pm

You don’t understand.
You just don’t understand at all.
The Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, meant well. He had to prohibit the dam, as the little fish would have been harmed. And I am sure that he had scientific proof that the drought in Queensland was permanent.
Garrett is a Government Minister, and thus doubtless protected against any suit claiming that his decisions did harm.
And as for Toowoomba, it was beautified. It is gone now, but before the floods came it was pretty.
Had the United States signed on to the Kyoto Protocols, none of this would have happened.

How long is it going to take before we stop putting people in office who just want to do good?
There is such a thing as the desire to believe. Many people want a simple, direct, and unambiguous answer to complex questions. Folk do not want to do the hard work of thinking through what they are told; they just want to believe.
More people means it will get hotter. See? It’s easy.
And the citizens of Queensland must pay with their property (and their lives, in some cases) for the truly well-meaning environmentalist Government.
They meant well.
The Australian Policy is a total FUBAR, but they mean well.

Peter Pond
January 12, 2011 1:47 pm

I was listening to talk-back radio (in Australia) yesterday and a number of callers wanted to blame these recent rains on AGW. I am not sure how they reconciled that view with the fact that the floods in Brisbane were worse in 1974, and 1893.
One of these days we may learn that “Mother Nature” is very powerful and that our feeble efforts to curb her activities are marginal at best.
For a long time Australia has been a “land of droughts and flooding rains”. Nothing I have seen, heard or read convinces me that this will change any time soon (short of the next ice age).

January 12, 2011 1:47 pm

I am sorry. If you build structures in a flood plain, eventually they get flooded.

Pull My Finger
January 12, 2011 1:54 pm

Wow, if this is true someone’s head needs to roll. In the US you could likely argue criminal negligence as safety precautions were ignored. This is far more serious of a “human error” than say Three Mile Island which has been cause celibre for the anti nuke jobs for decades. Some law firm needs to get a pair and start going after these groups that are selling junk science and causing death and destruction. DDT anyone?
Unfortunately the government had been advised that we were going to experience continual drought and low rainfall so they filled the dams above the recommended 60% level. Had they not done that the Brisbane peak may have been lower. (the Wivenhoe Dam water enters the system below Ipswich)

January 12, 2011 1:55 pm

In my experience the Aussies never seem to learn or even understand basic science (which is in an appalling state in primary and secondary schools here) they still think it ain’t gonna happen again despite 1893 and 1974. They voted Tim Flannery Australian of the year and will continue to incredibly silly things. (This is from Toowoomba BTW), For example about 80% Australians believe in Mann made global warming compared to other states such as the US (36%) England <50% etc…

January 12, 2011 1:55 pm

History is repeating it seems:
Green ideas must take blame for deaths

January 12, 2011 1:56 pm

Some obvious points
1. Flood control dams are not the same as water storage dams. The dam that might have been built was a water storage dam. There was no water to fill the dam so it was not built.
2. The amount of water in the flood is huge. No deasible dam is going to swallow it. Existing water storage dams are overflowing. One dam was reported as being at twice capacity.
3. Queensland is prone to severe flooding. Infrastructure is designed to handle floods. No amount of preparation that makes economic or practical sense can deal with 100 year floods.
4. Andrew Bolt is a journalist. His hobby horse is dams. But he knows zero about water resource management.
5. I despise people who exploit disasters like this to propagandize their own political views or to pretend the event is evidence if their own amazing foresight and wisdom.

Graeme W
January 12, 2011 1:56 pm

What I cannot understand is this: how was the possibility of such a danger not forseen, when climate experts and the Government claim they can predict the climate 100 years from now? How did this week’s rain come as such a surprise, when we now spend billions more on computer models predicting the future?

This statement is unworthy of WUWT. Firstly, the danger was foreseen. That danger was the reason a dam was built to try to prevent the impact of another flood like the one in 1974. It may have helped, as this flood is lower than that one, but that dam was filled to overflowing and had to release water.
Secondly, as a site that constantly emphasizes the differences between climate and weather, to confuse the two with the above statement is ingenuous at best. This was a weather event, not a climate event. It was largely predicted… in the range of normal weather predictions, which is only days.
The floods in question are not exceptional, per se. All of the affected areas have had bigger floods in the past. What’s unusual is the fact that so many areas have big floods at the same time – something being largely attributed to the la Nina weather pattern (not climate change).
As for dams, as Scott R said above, the terrain in these areas are not always conducive to dams. A lot of these areas are flood plains, which means that they’re largely flat with no practical way or place to build a dam. Yes, a few dams could be built, and maybe some of them could have alleviated some of the problems, but most of the flooding would not have been stopped by any proposed dams.
On the human tragedy part, my heart weeped when I read the story of thirteen year old Jordan Rice, who insisted that his younger brother be saved first, and when it was his turn it was too late….

Bob of Castlemaine
January 12, 2011 1:57 pm

This morning we hear that the Wivenhoe Dam, built after the devastating floods of 1974, seems to have been at least partially responsible for reducing the predicted Brisbane flood level by a metre.
Meanwhile on the western side of the Australian continent bushfires are the main threat.
Truly as in the words of the well known poem by Dorothea Mackellar:

A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

G. Karst
January 12, 2011 2:01 pm

Any planning based on projections, derived from CAGW, will invariably result in similar tragedy. Preparing for an AGW desertification disaster.., leads one to ignore flood risks.
Double tragedy, since the mindset was intentionally manipulated. GK

January 12, 2011 2:02 pm

Like many people, I question whether the proposed dams would have made that much of a difference. The temptation to build next to what look like nice babbling brooks and creeks is immense and land and property values are enhanced when near water features like this.
The answer is that floods and droughts are facts of life in Queensland. Living near rivers, however picturesque, is a not-very-well-calculated risk.
Ten years of drought and idiots talking of permanent climatic changes toward drought can cause people to forget history.
Practically all of the dams in the Brisbane area are full and spilling. See
What has failed is the water management at the dams. They were too full for too long and when the flooding rains did come, the dams were worse than useless. That is a part of the tragedy that is “human caused”.
But most of it is just about Australia climate, from drought to floods and back again. There is no ultimate answer except respect for the power of nature.\ when measuring risk.

Henry chance
January 12, 2011 2:08 pm

Superstition wins over historical data.

Another Gareth
January 12, 2011 2:10 pm

Anthony said: How did this week’s rain come as such a surprise, when we now spend billions more on computer models predicting the future?
Peter Maddock said: The floods are truly tragic … but remain weather, and terrible floods are part of our (Australian) history and folk law.
Climate scientists and the people who hang on their every word and mash it into public policy have become utterly blinkered on climate at the expense of weather. They have a tunnel vision for averages and no longer seem to consider the extremes and the work that needs to be done to prepare for them.
Human settlements have always been vulnerable to extremes of weather, climate doesn’t have extremes it is an accumulated average. Weather kills people, climate doesn’t. Our representatives have become absorbed by a hysteria for something that to a practical extent is irrelevant to our daily lives.

Read carefully, That is Andrew Bolts column excerpts. -Anthony

January 12, 2011 2:13 pm

Not unusual that the city planners don’t listen to the engineers. And it is going to get worse as the infrastructure built in the 60’s and 70’s ends its useful life and must be replaced when local governments are “in the hole”.

Graeme W
January 12, 2011 2:22 pm

REPLY: Read carefully, That is Andrew Bolts column excerpts. -Anthony

My apologies. I hadn’t realised with my earlier comments that I was quoting Andrew Bolt’s article. While I sometimes agree with his positions, I rarely agree with the hyperbole he uses, and this was just another example of that.

January 12, 2011 2:23 pm

Much as I love to stick the boot into Eco-nuts, it’s completely wrong to think the traveston crossing dam wouldnhave done anything. Every single dam in the region was 100% full prior to the large rainfall event. It’s been raining heavily for months so even a new damnwould have been already been full. The traveston crossing dam was a political folly- a gIgantic white elephant of a dam located for political reasons rather than choosing the best location. Yes, it got killed over environmental reasons but it should never have made it past the soil tests. It’s tempting to try and pin the blame on greenies but in this case it’s just weather, and a grim reminder that this beautiful part of the world sometimes floods in remarkable ways.

January 12, 2011 2:26 pm

I have some queries regarding the Wivenhoe Dam and the flooding..
how much of the total catchment of the lower Brisbane River comes from the dam?
could they have made sure the dam was nearly ’empty’ before the arrival of the rains to ensure it captured and stored some of the precipitation?
It just strikes me as odd that the dam is being overtopped and perhaps this could have been better planned and reduced the lower flooding?
Anyway, I hope the folk of Queensland struggle on and wish them well in their toils.

January 12, 2011 2:27 pm

RE: David – UK
To my knowledge only one “climate scientist” in Australia (David Karoly) has come out to say this is all due to global warming but the media aren’t really knocking his door down. In this continent people have been programmed to equate warming with drought so the press aren’t having too much to do with it so far. This type of rain was meant to be a thing of the past and the usual opportunists have been pretty muted.

Nolo Contendere
January 12, 2011 2:34 pm

This is what happens when greenies influence politicians. Hope Aussies can sue idiots in both those categories.

Zeke the Sneak
January 12, 2011 2:41 pm

I am truly sorry.
I will switch to Australian wine as my patriotic duty to Oz.
PS–I don’t lose any love on that expensive desalinization plant that was built either. So their water bills will always be increasing to pay for that multi-billion project, all because of scary AGW water shortage models.
It only takes millions to build a desalinization plant in Texas. And it’s probably bigger than theirs.

shortie of greenbank
January 12, 2011 2:42 pm

The lives lost in Toowoomba (which is also where most of the missing persons are also reported) was due to localised flash flooding so much of the hype about dams in this instance is lost.
Many of those who lost their lives were also those before the flooding in Toowoomba struck, these were the many who crossed flooded creeks and bridges of which 10 or so lost their lives doing so. They took their lives (and at times their loved ones) in their own hands as well as putting emergency services lives at risk already stretched in resources.
There is a contrast though. The Prime Minister Julia Gillard is a chameleon, stands looking fresh, impecably dressed with perfect make-up and hair. Next to her and he well rested self is the Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh, who is haggard and withdrawn, she is dressed in a simple and ruffled button-up blue shirt eyes bloodshot with little make-up and hair ruffled. This is also the contrast in words they say, while Gillard is full of false words spoken by a used-car salesman (or what one seems to assume they speak) Bligh has been quick and continual in giving people updates via the television. Her work has been tireless and for all I have disliked about her government I would like to give her credit for the effort she and her team have given in this crisis.

January 12, 2011 2:44 pm

Has anyone heard from David Archibald?

January 12, 2011 2:44 pm

[snip – juvenile humor and unwarranted in the face of this tragedy]

January 12, 2011 2:50 pm

Never let a good crisis go to waste, right? See here.
Simon, ACM

David W
January 12, 2011 2:50 pm

Guys back off on this one. Trust me. I live in the area impacted and have followed the weather event that caused this flooding closely since it originated on Saturday. My home has been impacted by these floodwaters.
The rainfall we have had in SE QLD is unprecedented in our history. I’ve seen flood peaks upstream and rainfall rates that I never imagined I would see. Previous record peaks in a number of areas have been broken by 1-2 meters.
There is only so much a dam can do. No dam would have prevented the loss of life in Toowoomba where the rainfall rate hit 300mm/h in an half hour period. The cell that produced this particular burst of rain had less than half an hour earlier been nowther near as severe. This phenomenal rainfall sent a wall of water down the Lockyer Valley which no one could have predicted. There were some guys on our weather zone forums that suggested that flash flooding might be a problem in Toowomba but this was no more than half an hour to an hour before it actually ocurred.
As it stands, what has saved Brisbane from a far greater catastrophe is the flood mitigation capacity at Wivenhoe Dam which in this instance may well have handled a once in 200 year flood event and massively reduced the impact.
I haven’t read Andrew Bolt’s article but if he’s blaming Peter Garrett (a labor MP) he needs to pull his head in. I’ve got a great deal of respect for a lot of what he writes, but he is a staunch liberal supporter and if he is indulging in misguided political finger pointing at this tragic time then his behavious is sickening (and I’m a liberal voter btw)
This whole tragic event is nothing to do with climate change. It is a freak rainfall event which was in no way ever going to be fully mitigated by any attempt by authorities to control the floodwaters.

Fred from Canuckistan
January 12, 2011 2:51 pm

Wasn’t there a massive death count just a few years back when bush fires rean amok because the greenies have outlawed any brush clearing, even on private property?

January 12, 2011 2:51 pm

Seems that Queensland, especially around Brisbane and Rockhampton are prone to severe flooding:,_Queensland
Both cities expanded rapidly after WWII, with extensive urban sprawl into the flood plains around the Brisbane and Fitzroy Rivers, respectively, resulting in ever worstening flood disasters. We have done exactly the same thing in N Yorkshire, the Midlands and Cumbria.

January 12, 2011 2:54 pm

Brc says:
January 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm
you say every dam was full beforehand? Is that true? If so, why were dams not allowed to discharge ‘more’ to accommodate new rainfall?
I don’t want to be finger pointing, but if lessons cannot be learnt without knowing the facts.

January 12, 2011 2:58 pm

A acquaintance of mine works for SE Queensland Water. He agrees with ScottR’s comments about the suitability of damming the Mary River at the proposed site. It was a silly, politically motivated idea which most hydrologists disagreed with.
Mr Bolt’s comments are both wrong and wrong headed, as well as being factually incomplete. For those not familiar with the geography of the flooding ares, he leaves the impression that several of the events were interconnected, when they were not.
This piece is not Mr Bolt’s best work, but rather among his worst.

Another Gareth
January 12, 2011 2:59 pm

“REPLY: Read carefully, That is Andrew Bolts column excerpts. -Anthony”
My apologies Anthony.

shortie of greenbank
January 12, 2011 3:00 pm

Wivenhoe is designed to go to 200%-225% (25% is the ‘uncontrolled level’ or something). In other words the first approximately 100% is dam catchment and the other 100% is flood mitigation. Since it hasn’t reached 200% yet this indicates that the dam has done is job well. It feeds in below Ipswich too I believe so the levels of 19m there are not the result of the feed from Wivenhoe. There is no major dam directly to the west of Ipswich to my knowledge.
Ipswich is south of Lake Manchester but in line with Bill Gunn dam (roughly). Brisbane is East-North-East of Ipswich.

Robert Ellison
January 12, 2011 3:02 pm

This is nonsense. The math is quite simple.
Q = I – dS/dt where Q is outflow, I is inflow and S is storage. There is no flood attenuation when the storage is full (dS/dt = 0 and Q = I) . Wivenhoe Dam above Brisbane has been at 200% capacity for days and is providing no protection against todays flood peak.
Moreover, I live in Queensland and I find it appallingly insensitive to be making foolish political points at this time.

January 12, 2011 3:06 pm

Stupidity is not unique to Australia. How many Americans live within five miles of the Californian coast and within a 20 feet from sea level?
How many Canadians do the same in Vancouver?
It is called gambling. One day their number will come up. It is not a matter of IF but simply a matter of WHEN.

David A. Evans
January 12, 2011 3:07 pm

One thing that stood out for me…

When I went to buy my newspaper, the newsagent told me he was devastated, not because of what had happened but because the engineer who had worked on the beautification project told him he couldn’t make them listen when he pleaded for bigger pipes – “18-footers” he called them – to let the water through, because it simply didn’t suit the aesthetics of the architects and landscapers.

Why do they not listen to the engineers?

Bob of Castlemaine
January 12, 2011 3:08 pm

No doubt there are knowledgeable civil engineers/hydrologists that are followers of WUWT that can set the record straight. But from the limited understanding of an electrical the value of a dam fitted with flood gates in mitigating the flow of flood waters does not necessarily cease when the dam reaches it’s nominal 100% capacity. We commonly hear of dams holding water way above nominal full capacity i.e. the case in point. Presumably this comes from the raised maximum water level that comes with raising flood gates. Obviously the more the flood gates are lifted/opened the greater the volume of water spilled. However if we see the water contained by the dam increase rapidly from say 100% to say 180% during flood inflow conditions, then surely at the very least 80% more water is being held back than would otherwise be the case if the dam just spilled all water in excess of the 100% level. Maybe what we see then is a retarding/smoothing of the maximum river flows below the dam?

January 12, 2011 3:11 pm

“Australia’s coal-fired power plants consume around 2 tonnes of water – for cooling and steam generation – for every megawatt-hour they produce.”
Flannery actually said that? In that case he is remarkably ignorant. Steam generation consumes zero water since it is a completely closed system, the same water is used over and over again. Cooling may consume some water if it run as a “closed” system with cooling towers since there will some evaporation. If water from the sea or a lake is used for cooling the consumption is essentially zero there too.

January 12, 2011 3:11 pm

Some obvious points
1. Most dams in flood/drought prone areas serve both as water catchment AND flood control. That is why most lakes in the SW US have the characteristic “Bathtub Ring”. Its not because of the mythological drought that the the greeny loons keep yammering about. The lakes are MAINTAINED at bellow capacity so that they are able to accommodate flood water.
2. The amount of water in the flood is huge. A properly designed dam and infrastructure, e.g. green belts, could have easily have accommodated it. Reference the Indian Bend Wash system that has been designed to handle 100 year floods plus an additional 12 feet of flood height.
3. Queensland is prone to severe flooding. Most places prone to flooding take 100 year floods into account when designing infrastructure and do not listen to econuts.
4. Andrew Bolt is a journalist. His hobby horse is dams. But he knows zero about water resource management. But he does know more then the lazy brat.
5. I despise people who accuse others of what they are guilty of. This is especially true when the nonsensical accusations are used to disparage someone pointing out the results of Marxist inspired policy.

el gordo
January 12, 2011 3:13 pm

Brisbane is built on flood plain and will become inundated regularly every 20 to 30 years, with a cool PDO and increased number of La Nina.
Town planners who talk about a big flood ‘once in a hundred years’ need to be re-educated.

Robert Ellison
January 12, 2011 3:15 pm

Incidentally, Brisbane is an area where tailwater levels (and therefore flood heights) are tidally mediated. The comparison of 1974 and 2011 flood levels is not hugely meaningful for comparing flood volumes.
My question is ‘does the internet encourage people to come to instant and idiotic conclusions or is this just the human condition?”

January 12, 2011 3:15 pm

It’s worth mentioning that a massive campaign was fought in the area of the Mary River dam by the locals. They didn’t want it – I don’t know what the level of support was in Gympie, but if Gympie wanted the dam, I saw no signs demanding it while I drove through there so many times. So I believe Peter Garrett (for whom I hold nothing but despite) simply bowed to public pressure.
The early warning system failed Toowoomba because it had to – it was never going to help, as it was SO sudden. Mind you, that’s how it’s always been in Toowoomba.
I would love to know what additional plans were made to stop 1974 happening again. It would be fascinating to see a critique of what was planned, how it would have worked, when levels of the plan were dumped, by whom, and why?
I’m sure there is an enlightening story therein.

Gabriel Hauber
January 12, 2011 3:18 pm

I live in the area covered by this article. I have to strongly disagree with Delingpole and Bolt on their dam comments. The Wivenhoe dam did save Brisbane from worse flooding, yes, but only because it was designed to do so. It was built with a tremendous amount of flood storage. However, it only covered a portion of the Brisbane River catchment, hence the floods that are still working their way through the city.
Gympie, however, is a completely different story. The proposed dam there had seen a sustained campaign against it by the people for years before Garrett finally put the nail in the coffin on those plans. I suspect the fish argument was just to save face as it was a political nightmare due to the strenuous public opposition. Due to the lay of the land where it would have been built, it would have been a very shallow dam with no flood storage whatsoever, but with the loss of a great deal of very good farmland. Due to how much rain was received in the area over December, it would have been 100% full when the surge came down the river, and would have had no mitigating effect on the Gympie floods at all.
Also – this article has seemed to imply that the deaths could have been prevented by this cancelled dam. The deaths happened elsewhere. The destruction in places like Toowoomba and Grantham would not have been prevented by a dam.
This is sensationalist and misleading reporting.
In regards to their expectations of future rain patterns – yes, it had been the prevailing “wisdom” that Queensland was drying up and that new dams and water recycling and desal plants were necessary to secure our future water supply. The real issue is rising population and the ability of the existing infrastructure built decades ago to support burgeoning populations.

David A. Evans
January 12, 2011 3:19 pm

I must apologise for being totally remiss in not immediately offering my sympathies. It’s just that I so often see engineers disregarded, my anger gets the better of me.

January 12, 2011 3:21 pm

shortie of greenbank says:
January 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm
Robert Ellison says:
January 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm
obviously somewhat conflicting information. As I am in the Uk and can only rely on MSM coverage, it is difficult to know what has been going on. But I do hope someone is asking the right questions, just to be sure!

January 12, 2011 3:23 pm

The damage and loss is tragic for sure; but the problem is one of planning and doing silly things like building housing estates on prior marshes and flood plains.. There is a darn good reason why such places persisted up to the point of development as marshes and flood plains without properties on them. Even if AGW were true, it only makes the odds of a flood longer (or more perhaps), it doesn’t remove it completely.
Also given this 100 year flood looks to have occurred twice in the last 100 years (okay I know we need at least another 50 to prove that absolutely true) the insurance companies can cry ‘uninsured risk’ and/or ramp up the premiums. Such flood prone areas will be so expensive to insure that nobody will be able to afford to live there with insurance.
Also the ill informed Greens do have a lot to answer for in this; first the terrible fires in Vic helped along by lack of fuel management, and now Queensland and NSW floods helped along by lack of water course management. Man is part of the system and can actually help keep things like this in check for the better of the whole ecology; you tie one or both hands behind your back wrt ecology management and things start to get dangerous very quickly. There is no such thing as a natural ‘balance’; nature is chaotic by default, man actually is the only influence that wants balance and stability.

Gary Hladik
January 12, 2011 3:32 pm

Jeremy says (January 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm): “Stupidity is not unique to Australia. How many Americans live within five miles of the Californian coast and within a 20 feet from sea level?”
Not us! We’re about 200m above sea level in the hills above Silicon Valley. Safe and sound right next to the San Andreas Fault. 🙂

Gabriel Hauber
January 12, 2011 3:33 pm

Robert Ellison, you said:

Brisbane has been at 200% capacity for days and is providing no protection against todays flood peak.

That is completely untrue. The dam only just reached 191% capacity yesterday. The fact that it rapidly filled to that level over the preceding days meant that all that water did not flow down the Brisbane River all at once, thus reducing the overall flood surge going through Brisbane yesterday and this morning. The dam definitely did what it was designed to do, and did it well.
Also, Wivenhoe dam’s flood storage limit is 225%, not 200%, so it still had a ways to go before they would have had to do unrestrained releases to prevent total dam failure.

January 12, 2011 3:41 pm

“David, UK says:
January 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm
And all because the enviro-fascists claimed that this kind of flooding was a thing of the past due to global warming. What’s the betting they will now attribute this very flood to just that: global warming?”
They already did (Google translate):
Original article at:
The usual suspects are provied as sources (BBC , MET , Reuters).
Aftenposten is the leading newspaper in Norway. The paper is also a totally and utter warmist rag, spewing ut propaganda at every opportunity. They have a number of dedicated “Climate Journalists” working hard to secure their job, preaching the gloal warming gospel. The paper is simply a totally and utter warmist rag, spewing ut shameless propaganda at every opportunity.

January 12, 2011 3:57 pm

“David, UK says:
January 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm
And all because the enviro-fascists claimed that this kind of flooding was a thing of the past due to global warming. What’s the betting they will now attribute this very flood to just that: global warming?”
They already did (Google translate to English):
Original article at:
The usual suspects are provided as sources (BBC , MET , Reuters, Trenberth).
Aftenposten is the leading newspaper in Norway. The paper is also a totally and utter warmist rag, spewing ut propaganda at every opportunity. It has a number of dedicated “Climate Journalists” working hard to secure their job, preaching the global warming gospel.
(Ooops! Sorry about all the errors in my first post. Prematurly hit “submit”. An “edit” function would be nice. Moderator, please delete it).

January 12, 2011 3:58 pm

I also live in the affected area and had the option of being evacuated by the SES on Tuesday evening.
One thing I know for sure is that after these types of extreme events, a Royal Commission needs to be held. Not to place blame, but to learn and improve our ability to avert or minimise the inevitable future floods.
The 2nd thing I know is that NOTHING, absolutely nothing could have prevented the terrible Toowoomba flash flood described as an inland tsunami.
By contrast, the Brisbane flood is a slowly rising immovable force.
The 3rd thing I know is that the Wivenhoe dam ws built PRIMARILY as a flood mitigation project. Our leaders at the time of the 74 floods said they would do everything possible to avert future floods. The Wivenhoe was commenced soon after and completed in the early 80’s.
However, Wivenhoe was not the only mitigation strategy. There was to be numerous other, smaller projects such as water diversion channels etc These were not built. (my knowledge is limited in this particular area, others may be able to add to or correct me)
There are some legitimate questions that need to be asked during a Royal Commission without trying to lay blame. e.g. Wivenhoe MUST release water within 7 days of reaching the 100% water storage capacity (even though it can go to 225% as the flood mitigation portion) Knowing that the dam had reached this 100% capacity earlier in the year EVEN BEFORE ENTERING the Queensland wet season AMIDST THE STRONGEST LA NINA for many years, should the rules governing Wivenhoe operations be adjusted? Should we pretend that AGW will cause more droughts than floods and the dam will rarely fill to capacity?
Finally, to those having a go at Andrew Bolt. Bolt didn’t pull his statements out of his ar$e. They were based on a QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT REPORT which claimed that had a dam been built across the Mary River, only 6 out of 104 businesses would have gone under and the flood level would have been 4 metres lower based on the study of the even bigger flood of 1999.

shortie of greenbank
January 12, 2011 4:00 pm

As of 11/01/2011 the level had not reached 200%, with an upward limit of 225%. It takes some time for all the water in the catchment to filter through so it will most probably breach that level in the coming days possibly going to uncontrolled levels of release.

January 12, 2011 4:01 pm

Deepest sympathy to all those effected by these floods.
I find it difficult to fathom why the planning authorities let developers build on flood plains without forcing them to put in place the infrastructure to deal with probable floods – exact same thing happens in the UK.
It would seem common sense goes out the window if someone sees the chance of making an extra buck!

January 12, 2011 4:02 pm

Brazil faces worst flooding in 25 years.

January 12, 2011 4:02 pm

Gabriel Hauber says:
January 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm
As I said earlier, conflicting info being passed around. I do recall perhaps about 48/36 hrs ago some report on the BBC (and some pictures I think) saying the Wivenhoe was releasing water which was half the reason I posed the question as to dam levels.
Let’s not anyone get adversarial over this, but it would be nice to have some hard facts if anyone knows where they are!

January 12, 2011 4:08 pm

Traveston dam was a very bad idea as pointed out by earlier posts. The headwaters of the Mary River behind Maleny has many suitable areas, The Obi Obi valley and near Conondale are a couple of examples. Perfect sites for dams but hated by Greenies because of the Sacredness of all thing rain forest. The Mary has two dams already above Gympie being Baroon Pocket and Borumba.
Rainfall in Queenland is highly variable. Some examples in SE Qld: 1893 Peachester in Sunshine Coast hinterland 930 mm (37 inches) in 24 hours which flooded Brisbane from that event. Some years in SE QLd has had only 20 or 30 inches for the entire year followed by years with 100 inches plus. Queensland is basically flat interupted by The Great Diving Range which practically hugs the Coast. The topography makes most of the rainfall fall on the Coastal Plain where everyone wants to live. This also means that the population centres are situated on major rivers. This had to happen historically because you need water when there is a drought, not much good when it’s flooding.
This is a planning issue that needs careful thought. However flooding will continue regardless as it will be too expensive to stop it all.
BTW the biggest issue confronting the whole of Queensland at this time is that it is saturated and other major rainfall events are likely to happen further ( 100% according to my complex computer model I have developed between my right and left ears) as we have probably up to 4 to 6 more months of potential rainy season left, February traditionally our wettest.
This is a long way from over.

January 12, 2011 4:08 pm

I’ve just been listening to the midnight news on BBC Radio 4. Their reporter on the floods attributed the events to La Nina patterns, without one mention of warming. I was ready to turn it off if the usual meme started but it didn’t come. This is unusual for the beeb but I expect they’ll sharpen up the agw angle as things move along.

Robert Ellison
January 12, 2011 4:08 pm

Kev-in-UK says:
January 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm
shortie of greenbank says:
January 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm
Robert Ellison says:
January 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm
obviously somewhat conflicting information. As I am in the Uk and can only rely on MSM coverage, it is difficult to know what has been going on. But I do hope someone is asking the right questions, just to be sure!
Shorties interactive map is out of date by a good deal – and in fact is relevant only to water supply and not flood levels. 200% is the safe flood capacity – as of half an hour ago this is the report in the Courier Mail –
There are a couple of other misconceptions.
The method of calculating the average return interval of floods is very simple. The peak flood in any year is listed in order of magnitude. In a 100 year record – the biggest flood is the 1 in 100 year flood, the next the 1 in 99 year flood etc. Serious flooding occurs in perhaps 5 to 10% of years anywhere. Expect flooding every 10 to 20 years.
Ask an engineer/hydrologist? Yeah whatever.
Robert I Ellison BE(Hons), MEnSC, CPEng, RPEQ

January 12, 2011 4:09 pm

With the permission of the mods I’d like to add the following to my lengthy post above.
A SECRET report by scientific and engineering experts warned of significantly greater risks of vast destruction from Brisbane River flooding – and raised grave concerns with the Queensland government and the city’s council a decade ago.
Yes, a Royal Commission is needed.
I’d also like to add my support to a comment above about the Queensland Premiere Anna Bligh.
I am by no means a supporter of Bligh in a political sense. But the woman has been nothing short of sensational throughout this disaster. I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the work she has done and continues to do. Good onya Anna.

January 12, 2011 4:10 pm

kev in the uk
Yes, all dams were full. Only wivenhoe is designed explicitly with flood mitigation in mind. Believe me , they were releasing as much as they dared, but there was simply too much water. Wivenhoe has worked exactly as designed as they time the releases to coincide with the low tide to minimize impact on Brisbane. It’s hard for people in other countries to comprehend this, but it’s been raining heavily since the start of December and the flood affected area is greater than that of Germany and France combined. There is nothing that could have been done. Where the majority of deaths occurrd is 700m above sea level and on streams you can normally jump over. Nobody would ever suggest putting a Dam on these tiny little waterways. A flash flood is like an earthquake – largely unpredictable and can strike pretty much anywhere.
The politicians can be blamed for their ridiculous desal plant and on their lack of dams for water supply but no man-made infrastructure was going to make a jot of difference to this amount of water.
On the traveston crossing dam Andrew bolt is totally wrong, something that has been pointed out to him many times by readers, but he persists because it was cancelled on environmental reasons as a fig leaf to cover up the political idiocy of starting the project in the first place. The engineers all said it was a bad i
Place for a dam, but nobody listened to them. It was politically expedient to announce the dam far enough away from brisbane voters to win an election but it looked like seriously damaging the chances of the federal govt so it was cancelled, citing the lungfish as the reason.

Brian of Moorabbin, AUS
January 12, 2011 4:12 pm

FYI, Anthony..
Peter Garrett has not been Minister for the Environment since the August 2010 Federal Election here in Australia. He was replaced by Simon Crean after Garrett suffered an 8% swing against him in his electorate (which turned his seat from a “comfortable 13% majority” to a “shaky 5%”).
Additionally, it appears Al gore has been found!! He made a statement in Indonesia yesterday where “the Nobel laureate cited devastating floods in Australia and Pakistan and last year’s drought in Russia as evidence that unchecked global warming threatened famine, poverty and wide-scale destruction. “
Strange how he was silent about the blizzards across Europe and North America. I guess he’s finally figured out that snow is not warm.

Brian of Moorabbin, AUS
January 12, 2011 4:14 pm

Apologies, it appears the source link I tried to put into my above post didn’t work.. (I’ve never got the hang of HTML codes).
Source for the Al Gore comment is:

January 12, 2011 4:15 pm

Strange energies of Oz.
Greenies crucified the individuals who cleared the trees around their house.
Greenies crucified the family with the feedlot.
Now greenies hijacked the environment again it seems.
Yet there is so much potential in permaculture and biodynamic farming, two systems that Australia can be proud of for pioneering. Australian Peter Proctor has taken B-D farming to India where farmers are taking it up en masse, because it is healing the land they farm on that was being ruined and turned into iron-hard dead clods by chemical farming. It works at all levels, both for the land, the plants and animals on the land, and the people who farm. This is not a case of saving cod at the expense of humans – or vice versa – it’s win-win.
My plea: we all need to get more literate in science and engineering and economics and environmentalism – to discern the good and the genuine and not rely on the dangerous crutches of “authority”.

Cynthia Lauren Thorpe
January 12, 2011 4:16 pm

I enjoy diffusing frustration by attempting to make light of situations. But, I simply cannot when the side-effects of tolerating ‘Useful Idiot Greenies’ is causing harm to specific communities such as the flood hit regions of Queensland, and especially – Toowoomba.
The facts in this article highlight the far-reaching effects and damage that is this religion of promoting ‘planet’ over ‘populace’ (ie: ‘Giah’ worship) thrives upon.
The ‘carnage’ (whether it be verbal or, as in the case of today – physical) is not at all necessary, if the Agenda (on all its myriad fronts) is brought to a timely end by thoughtful patriotic individuals wherever they be on this beautiful globe.
Bush fires ran rampant in the United States because ‘Greenies’ forbade our National Park Services from clearing dead brush amongst forest trees and now, the U.S.A. is going to be reaping the benefits from having ‘deep oil wells’ taken off the Southern Coast. …Why? Because they were yet again, ‘forbade’ to set up their rigs in shallow waters where their maintenance would be less troublesome. This religion literally ‘primed’ the oil well fiasco and now, the Gulf’s normally robust ‘ecosystem’ has suffered incalculable damage for many years to come.
I enjoy ‘ranting’ about not being able to walk along the beach in the Southeast of Australia picking them up by the tens – NOT because I don’t want to pay for them – for I can find them (at high cost) in the local grocery store…but, because I cherish my FREEDOM of doing such trivial exploits. I cherish my Individual rights. I cherish and hold fast to the intrinsically basic idea that humans…THINKING HUMANS…best govern themselves and their communities with little over-arching government controls.
I can still drive the beach in my ute and light a fire at night to rest and refresh myself…but, I wonder with all this insanity… How long do I, and others, have till those little cherished Freedoms will too, go the way of most common sense in the year 2011?
Here’s a poignant example – if the loss of human lives ‘doesn’t do it’ for you – How ’bout these Giah zealots forbidding hunters to harvest the deer that proliferate within the ‘ecosystem’ of the Coorong? Hunters – with rifles or cross-bows have been forbade to hunt and then…. With little warning – the hum of army helicopters was heard in the ‘so called’ pristine Coorong. (We could hear the savagery from our farm house.) The ‘copter doors slid open and the ‘bambi’ (singular for deer?) were indiscriminately shot with high powered guns by military personnel. I ask you. Isn’t THAT ‘insanity’ in its purest form? These manically inspired zealot ‘Greenies’ give the ‘go ahead’ for mass carnage of deer – don’t pick up the carcasses…but, simply allow them to rot…. when Hunters ‘harvesting’ could be doing so in a balanced manner…complete with great meals for their families afterwards…
Do you dare say that my ‘bambi story’ has nothing to do with Toowoomba? I daresay it does, my Scientific friends. All this needless harm to humans and fauna in our environments can be ended, IF – as individuals – we begin to simply STAND against the tyranny of this ‘system’. I ask each of you – What will it take for you to stand with me and many other conscientious citizens and simply ‘stand up’ after you are schooled in the issues within your immediate sphere of influence. (I’ve blown past many of mine already – eg: reading & then writing on Watts Up). Then, we will find that honest individuals can and will ‘make a difference’ with residents like Heather Brown.
When we stand within our respective environments and link up arms (mentally and physically) – to stand against this encroaching idiocy/tyranny – wherever the ‘green agenda’ rears it’s ugly head…eventual cataclysmic events will be avoided by logic and common sense.
‘Greenies’ ~ when in leadership ~ speak for ‘the Earth’ and usher in disasters on multitudenous fronts. BUT – the ‘leadership’ is only directed from ‘the tippy tippy top’ by the ‘Gia Groupthink’. The folks (the idealistic and the indoctrinated) at the middle and bottom of their food chain – are just basically, misled teenagers in either age or mentality. ‘They’ have been co-opted at a high price indeed, at least – for towns such as are in Queensland. How many years of needless work could’ve been avoided…?
But, the CONSEQUENCES go far beyond Queensland and are staggering, indeed.
One ‘lone crazy’ in Arizona and we have the Media of America (and now the world) telling all of us to ‘fear words’ to ‘not speak out’ and to literally ‘quake in our boots’
until another ‘crazy’ unleashes. (Was that SAID when the guy who shouted ‘Allah Acbar’ when he killed so many – was that ‘rush to judgement’ espoused, then? Of course not. Because it didn’t ‘fit’ with the Agenda. I’ve listened to ABC radio ‘polls’ within the last couple of days that say Australians believe American fixation on weaponry is the culprit… You and I KNOW that is not the case and that ‘they’ corrupt polling. (You KNOW that the scenario down in Tasmania was only a ruse to get you all weaponless) And, what – I sincerely ask you – has THAT done? My ears are constantly ‘assaulted’ by stories of Aussie Butchery by knifes, machetes, wrenches and hammers used in many heinous crimes…and the victims of those crimes had absolutely NO defense to be used against the perpetrators of those crimes.
Those stories end in tragedy because Australia ‘bought the line’ that is now being foisted upon her fellow country, America while she shovels snow nationwide and we
wish we hadn’t prayed so much for rain…
Lest you think I digress… please try to understand that these issues simply ‘snowball’ from the folks trying to milk ‘the system’ in Anthony Watt’s hometown by wanting to institute more ‘laws’ about buying and selling homes… to the now ’30 plus’ lives that have been snuffed out by ‘bad ideas’ ~ which go against common sense and all logic ~ gaining footholds against good ol’ common sense.
Please remember that having ‘Giah Greenies’ in office have implications that are truly staggering and costly on many many levels of society. Today, Australia pays the price by having more of her citizenry harmed by rivers rising when it could have been avoided by common sense… and the ‘Greenies’ will lament along with all of us ~ but, do you NOT remember that ‘they’ also advocate the killing of our children by Abortion…? That ‘human life’ has been ‘cheapened’ in their hearts? Can we TRUST them when they stand alongside us at funerals? I ask you – doesn’t it ring terribly hollow when Australia’s Prime Minister gives her (and Australians) SYMPATHY to Queenslanders? I dare ask you each – Who NEEDS sympathy? It is a totally useless commodity…but, when one’s PM has no ‘moral base’ ~ sympathy is all we’re – sadly- due.
Guys… Tomorrow – will our kids and grand kids (indoctrinated by these very same ‘groups’ on their T.V.’s and in their classrooms) be more capable of ‘reasoning’ than ‘we’ – against this ‘Tide’? I suggest to you that if WE AREN’T capable of mounting an intellectual defense – they surely won’t.
It’s ‘high time’ that we get our ‘personal acts together’ and begin to thoughtfully engage within our respective cultures wherever we are best used. I invite you to PRAY with me, Ladies and Gentlemen of Science. Your ‘fields of study’ – this GLOBE is truly at stake…and I believe you were born for a time such as this. I believe this corruption of the GOOD in our humanity has gone on long enough. I do truly hope you agree.
Cynthia Lauren Thorpe

matt v.
January 12, 2011 4:19 pm

From the Australian Government web page called ENSO WRAP UP
La Niña periods are generally associated with above normal winter, spring and summer rainfall, particularly over eastern and northern Australia. The current event has contributed to 2010 being Australia’s third wettest year on record, and Queensland having its wettest December on record. During La Niña periods, Tropical Cyclone occurrence for northern Australia is typically higher than normal during the cyclone season (November-April), while summer daytime temperatures are often below average, particularly in areas experiencing higher than normal rainfall.
I agree with some of the previous bloggers comments, the flooding has nothing to do with global warming. Unfortunately, this La Nina could be around for a while .

January 12, 2011 4:19 pm

Wivenhoe dam is designed to work in conjunction with the Somerset dam which is further upstream. Had both dams been at the recommended 60% capacity (as determined when they were designed) between the two of them they could have held back a lot more water than they did but they were both above the 60%.
After the 1974 flood a huge enquiry was held and a list of recommendations made, especially about where to build in the Brisbane area. This report was completely ignored by the Brisbane Council and thus people were allowed to build in areas totally unsuitable for housing. As part of it’s campaign to attract new residents the Council encouraged the riverfront housing boom – you were extra trendy if you owned a riverfront block.
After this event I expect heads in council to roll!! The people who have been flooded have the right to sue the council for negligence.

January 12, 2011 4:20 pm

Two words to explain this phenomenon; Cloud Experiment.

Cynthia Lauren Thorpe
January 12, 2011 4:21 pm

Sorry Guys! Methinks I actually EDITED the word ‘cockles’ out of my ‘rant’
when I jumped from oil rigs in the U.S.A. to my beach here in Australia!
I’m truly sorry. I was using as few words as possible and in my humanity –
edited a crucial one for the benefit of the reader.
Sorry. Trying to be as concise – as always…
C.L. Thorpe

John Trigge
January 12, 2011 4:21 pm

Graeme W says:
January 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm
What’s unusual is the fact that so many areas have big floods at the same time – something being largely attributed to the la Nina weather pattern (not climate change).

Prof David Karoly was interviewed by the ABC yesterday and he stated that the intense rainfall was due to a combination of the deep la Nina plus record sea temperatures north of Oz which is due to global warming.

Robert Ellison
January 12, 2011 4:23 pm

Oh – that’s the other point.
No one has built (houses) in the 100 year flood plain or in the 100 year storm surge zone for decades in Australia. Do you think we are complete idiots?
If some engineer is aware of a problem all they have to do is not sign off on it. If they allow it through they are guilty of transgression against the primary duty of engineers which is not to risk public safety regardless of commercial or personal interests.

January 12, 2011 4:25 pm

Regarding the Delinpole comment re Environment Minister Peter Garrett: whilst I enjoy reading his articles this comment is out-of-order. Even if Garrett had given his approval dam construction would have barely begun thereby there was no hope in mitigating the current flooding of Gympie. Furthermore, the dam was to supply water to Brisbane and neighbouring towns consequently would have been as full as possible under the prevailing rainfall regime, rather than as empty as possible if operating as a flood mitigation dam. Given that these strong La Nina-based events occur in Australia on multi-decadal cycles with very long intervening drought cycles then virtually most of Australia’s dams are for water supply rather than flood mitigation purposes. Obvious answers to reduce the impacts of flooding include restricting development on floodways, not infilling urban catchment areas, build more levee banks to protect existing development, and seeking the opinion of those people aware of the natural cycles of drought and flood.
A case in point: Grantham, a small township where most of those people missing are from, is located at the confluence of a number of streams draining a deep semi-circular valley below Toowoomba, a location where flash-flooding will coalesce before issuing out onto a broad floodplain downstream. Half of Grantham is built on a hill above the floods, the other half on the floodplain below! Before development did not anyone ask, “Just how did this floodplain get here?” Dams are not always necessarily the solution but clear, honest thinking based on real-world events would go a long way to help.

January 12, 2011 4:25 pm

Can I say it now? It’s drainage problem.
Sadly, when they get up to normal precipitation they don’t keep enough, but when they do get more precipitation ‘an normal they can’t drain it fast enough. So drainage problem. But of course people will go, this time too, how can we be certain it’ll happen again like so?

January 12, 2011 4:26 pm

John Trigge, Karoly IS global warming himself… 😉

Stephen Brown
January 12, 2011 4:29 pm

Midnight. UK time, 12/13. 01.2011. Just been in contact with very dear friends who live in Brisbane. They’re OK but have ten people ‘squatting’ with them!
Rewind to 1966. Working on my Father’s farm in Zambia (after school). Farm was bordered by the Kafue River and the Muliashi Stream. The stream flooded every rainy season and swamped a lot of our land. Got an expert who worked on the copper mine (Roan Antelope Mine) to help. We built a large earthen dam on the lower reaches of the stream. When the expert said that we had to build a number of lesser dams higher up the stream I questioned him as to why. He said that these extra dams were NOT for water storage, they were to assist in the diversion of water into other natural courses, away from normal course of the Muliashi.
The farm has gone now, like most other productive enterprises in Zambia, but the Muliashi still does not flood what used to be our farm.
Surely a number of diversionary rather than holding dams would have helped to alleviate the flooding in Brisbane?

ralph hayburn
January 12, 2011 4:29 pm

Readers may be interested to have a quick peep at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website to see the history of floods in Queensland since the late 19th century. Either go to or Google ‘Queensland flood history’ and open the BoM entry. There have been 4 occasions on which the Brisbane River has gone higher than this time, 3 higher levels for the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton, and significant flooding almost every year.

John F. Hultquist
January 12, 2011 4:30 pm

Dams are not always the answer. Many years ago I was at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City. They planned on building an art museum in the flood plain. I asked the facilities management office if that was wise. The answer I got was that they expected water in the basement and the design allowed for sump pumps, so it “wasn’t a problem – just an engineering” decision. There is a dam up stream a few miles.
Here are the Google Earth coordinates:
UI building: 41.668833, -91.537852
Coralville dam: 41.724863, -91.529837
Here, you can read of the result:
If you follow the river you can see that it meanders – Just like the lower Mississippi River, and it also floods.
Here are general coordinates for the currently flooding area in Queensland, near Brisbane:
-27.519074, 152.998197
I’ve selected these to show the Indooroopilly Gulf Club that is located on the inside of a meander. This is a better use of flood plain than are the uses surrounding it.
Here is a link to photos from the January, 1974 flood in the same area.
This is heartbreaking.

John F. Hultquist
January 12, 2011 4:31 pm
January 12, 2011 4:51 pm

Jim Cripwell says:
January 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm
I am sorry. If you build structures in a flood plain, eventually they get flooded.
Indeed. There is a report in the Australian newspaper today indicating the local council ignored a consultant hydrological report about a decade ago that recommended not to allow construction of homes on low lying areas. This report was ignored and according to the report was “covered up”. Obviously it can’t be concluded that the council was relying on the “global warming” scare and therefore a future drier climate. But to say it had no influence would be difficult to dismiss.
Building on flood prone land is also cheaper and I’m sure many thought that there would be no future problem after ’74.
There was a case mentioned in the media of one householder building his house in 1975 just after the 1974 flood and hoping that the so called one in a 100 year flood would not occur again in that exact period of time. 1 in 100 year flood is merely a probability, it can occur again the next year , in 50 years or 120 years. In this case it occurred again in just 38 years.
The building of the Wivenhoe dam upstream of Brisbane after 1974 would also have given a false sense of security for many residents. Dams can only mitigate flooding not prevent it from happening.
Yes an absolute tragedy. But going on Australia’s records of floods going back to the mid 19 Century it will happen again some time in the future.

matt v.
January 12, 2011 4:55 pm

John Trigge
You said
“Prof David Karoly was interviewed by the ABC yesterday and he stated that the intense rainfall was due to a combination of the deep la Nina plus record sea temperatures north of Oz which is due to global warming.”
Reading Bob Tisdale’s latest post on SST for December and his posts on the impact of El Nino’s on global SST TEMPERATURES, I think the extra warming of the ocean surface water north of Australia may have more to do with the left over heat from the last El NINO rather than GLOBAL WARMING . Bob Tisdale may want to comment on this /
This from Bob’s blog:
“El Niño description: A reduction in the strength of the Pacific trade winds triggers an El Niño. A number of interrelated events then take place. Huge amounts of warm water from the surface and, more importantly, from below the surface of the western tropical Pacific (the Pacific Warm Pool) slosh east during an El Niño and are spread across the surface of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.”

January 12, 2011 5:08 pm

John Trigge says:
January 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm
Prof David Karoly was interviewed by the ABC yesterday and he stated that the intense rainfall was due to a combination of the deep la Nina plus record sea temperatures north of Oz which is due to global warming.
Karoly is “on message” here but again no evidence only a tongue-in-cheek opinion.
Of course the 1893 flood level some 3 to 4 m above the 1974 and current water level with no “global warming” to speak of during 1893 doesn’t seem to fit your theory dear Sir.
Einstein once said if there is one piece of evidence that doesn’t fit your theory, ( in the Aussie vernacular) “your up “s**t creek” or words to that effect!

January 12, 2011 5:10 pm

Sorry – your are seriously wrong about dams. They will not solve this issue – the major cause is large natural rainfall variation in Queensland – and subsequently poor policy believing that it won’t rain again during a very dry decade. But its happenned before – the variation, that is. Equally, building dams won’t solve the problem of controlling floods. However, dams may be a better solutions for drinking water supply than desalination plants. Qld is not the only state to have that made that mistake with Victoria having invested something like $6 billion on a desalination plant at Wonthaggi when a $1 billion dam would have done many times the job on the Mitchell river.

January 12, 2011 5:15 pm

An Aussie old timer on TV said that the 1974 floods were worse. So when I see this ‘worst flooding in 118 years’ or ‘worst floods in living memory’ or ‘inland tsunami’ (oh for goodness’ sake, a tsunami? honestly?) it makes me quite annoyed. They have to try and pretend that every event like this is the worst one yet.

January 12, 2011 5:16 pm

Ryan Maue said:
Also, it’s in the tropics.
Go to the bottom of the class, Ryan. Brisbane is 27.25 degrees south, approximately as far south as Miami or Tenerife are north. It has a semi-monsoonal climate which, as PPs have pointed out, is extremely variable in terms of rainfall.
The dams argument is a red herring when it has been raining for weeks and the topography is pretty flat. The Wivenhoe dam undoubtedly mitigated the disaster, but if (or perhaps, when) a flood as big as the one in 1883 happens again, the whole place would go under, no matter what infrastructure was in place.
And, the monsoon season still has 2-3 months to go.
Like living around the San Andreas fault, or near an active volcano, or in New Orleans, in the end people have to make decisions about risk. I have decided not to take it, preferring a city which is geologically stable and has never had more than minor flash floods.
It will be interesting to see if these events affect the longer term future of what has been a boom town for the last 20 years. It will take many businesses months to recover, and I’m betting that insurance premiums will skyrocket.

Trucker Bob
January 12, 2011 5:21 pm

Kev I don’t have the full story, however this is the story as I know it, the East coast and many other areas of OZ have suffered through a long drought, Wivenhoe was built after the floods of 1974 as a multi- purpose dam.
1) to act as a slowing agent in times of heavy rain to minimize the chance of 1974 being repeated.
2) as a water storage facility for the town water.
To do both these jobs it’s storage capacity needed to be maintained above 60% when possible for town water but regulated once it passed that mark, released in managed amounts, thus leaving capacity to capture excessive run off, discharging in a controlled manner so as to not over burden the river below and reduce the incidents of major flooding.
Problem is when the drought finally broke and levels reached 60% those in power refused to remove water usage restriction (imposed to save water during the drought) , water was too valuable to let the populous use as they wished, or to release down the river and run out to sea. Since the drought broke Queensland has received constant rain, thus with authorities maintaining water restrictions and reluctant to release some of the water rapidly filling the dam they were just too late in acting.
I know they released water when it reached 140% of capacity, I’m not sure at what stage they first released some of the excess, but as an earlier poster stated it is now at 200%, that second 100% is what point 1 above refers too, flood mitigation.
After saying all that, too what extent earlier action to reserve room for flood rains would have prevented this weeks events is debatable, too much rain, too short a time to release excess water without flooding areas below the dam in a fully managed way.
Maybe a regular poster here, Baa Humbug can correct any errors in my post, to my knowledge Baa is a resident of the area, was flooded out late last year and had two metres of water on his property this week

January 12, 2011 5:29 pm

Never happened in living memory can’t be said about Brisbane as the same thing happened a couple of decades ago.
Living memory for the climate modelers is even shorter and is not included in their models.
Unfortunately living memory doesn’t go back the to last Grand Solar Minima 200 years ago, so I think there are many surprises lurking in the near future.
The Sun is once again almost spotless.

David Corcoran
January 12, 2011 5:35 pm

Scott R, Graeme W: You claim that a dam won’t keep Gympie safe. The proponents have studies showing otherwise. What do you have other than an assertion?
How many fish are worth the lives lost? Can Mary’s River Cod breed with Murray Cod or the Eastern Freshwater Cod? If they can’t be destinguished visually, are these separate species or just tools against development used by environmentalists? In California we’re very familiar with that tactic… look up the “Delta” smelt… they differ from surf smelt by hanging out in the Sacramento Delta. And their numbers are reduced by Sacramento sewage, not irrigation pumps.

January 12, 2011 5:49 pm

FrankK says:
January 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm
“Of course the 1893 flood level some 3 to 4 m above the 1974 and current water level with no “global warming” to speak of during 1893 doesn’t seem to fit your theory dear Sir. ”
The Wivenhoe Dam did not exist in 1974. How high do you think the current flood would have reached without the dam ?
From the SEQWater website :
“Flood Mitigation
During a flood situation, Wivenhoe Dam is designed to hold back a further 1.45 million megalitres as well as its normal storage capacity of 1.15 million megalitres. Floods may still occur in the Ipswich and Brisbane areas but they will be rarer in occurrence. Wivenhoe’s flood control facility, together with the existing flood mitigation effect of Somerset Dam, will substantially reduce the heights of relatively small floods.
It is anticipated that during a large flood similar in magnitude to that experienced in 1974, by using mitigation facility within Wivenhoe Dam, flood levels will be reduced downstream by an estimated 2 metres.
Full supply level or 100 percent capacity (in the water level analysis) is indicative of the optimum level intended for town water supply, and does not take flood mitigation levels into account. ”

January 12, 2011 6:08 pm

Well, if global cooling is not part of the planning of governments and real estate developers, then they will build more houses and malls even in flood plains, expecting that there will be more drought than more rains in the coming years. They should start building more dams upstream, to reduce waterflow downstream during heavy rains.

Bill Illis
January 12, 2011 6:22 pm

The problem is that CAGW has convinced every gullible person (engineers and politicians alike) that Australia was going to turn into a CO2-baked waste-land.
Instead we have exactly the scenario which always happens when a strong La Nina follows an El Nino. Northern Australia and Indonesia get dumped on while there is not a cloud in the sky in the Nino regions and especially over the International Dateline area.
This is what happens in these conditions. Every weather forecaster in Australia should have been warning people for months now.
And every climate scientist should have been doing so doubly hard since their models are supposed to understand the climate so well.
Instead, we have people building desalination plants, egged on by climate scientists?
Its almost like we need “climate science insurance” now rather than flood and snow and cold temperature damage insurance.

January 12, 2011 6:37 pm

FrankK perhaps you should read the email Stewart Franks sent the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann regarding Karoly’s interview.

Dear Mr Uhlmann
I would like to protest the repeated interviews with Prof David Karoly with regard to the Queensland floods.
Since 2003, I have published a number of papers in the top-ranked international peer-reviewed literature regarding the role of La Nina in dictating Eastern Australian floods.
There has been no evidence of CO2 in affecting these entirely natural processes, irrespective of their devastating nature.
Why is it then, that someone without any publication nor insight in this key area of concern for Australia is repeatedly called upon to offer his personal speculation on this topic?
This is not a new problem with Prof. Karoly.
In 2003, he published, under the auspices of the WWF, a report that claimed that elevated air tempertatures, due to CO2, exacerbated the MDB drought. To quote…
‘…the higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates, which sped up the loss of soil moisture and the drying of vegetation and watercourses. This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed…’
The problem with this is that Prof Karoly had confused cause and effect.
During a drought, moisture is limited. The sun shines on the land surface, and as moisture is limited, evaporation is constrained, and consequently the bulk of the sun’s energy goes into surface heating which itself leads to higher air temperatures. This effect can be as much as 8-10 degrees celsius.
This is a common confusion made by those who have not studied the interaction of the land surface hydrology and atmosphere, as Prof. Karoly has not.
Undoubtably Prof Karoly has expertise but not in the area of hydrology or indeed in many other areas on which the ABC repeatedly calls on him for ‘expert’ comment.
Could I please ask that you cast your net a little wider in seeking expertise? These issues are too important for the media commont to be the sole domain of commited environmental advocates. Surely objective journalism also requires objective science?
Sincere best wishes,
Stewart Franks

he also sent the following email the David Karoly:

Your comments on the role of CO2 in the Qld floods are speculative at best, immensely damaging at worst.
When will you accept that CO2 is not the answer to everything? When will you decline an interview for the lack of your insight?
Have you not learnt from your physically incorrect speculation about temperature and evaporation during the MDB drought? Do you have no shame to have confused cause and effect in such a brazen and public manner?
Is it enough for you that your pronouncements sound correct, irrespective of science? Have you learnt nothing?
You are arguably the best example of the corruption of the IPCC process, and the bullshit that academia has sunk to.
Shame on you

BTW Dr Stewart Franks is an Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering at The University of Newcastle.

David W
January 12, 2011 6:44 pm

The storage capacity of Wivenhoe dam is 1.15 million megalitres as a previous poster mentioned. This is regarded as the 100% level and is what dam authorities seek to keep the level at. In times of drought, such as we had last decade, the dam can go from 100% to less than 20% in the space of 5 years. This is why it would not be dropped back down to 60% as someone suggested should have happened.
Based on all available historical flood data it was felt that a flood mitigation capacity of 1.45 million megalitres would be sufficient to keep future flood levels below those of 1974. In this they have succeeded in the face of rainfalls and upstream river levels that far exceeded thos in 1974.
Floods are always devastating. A modern city, with over a million inhabitants running out of water is a far greater disaster. Our authorities walk a fine line on this and I for one will not criticise them for the decisions they’ve made and the current outcome.
In 1999 they had rainfalls that pushed the dam to 100%. Had they emptied the dam to 60% in response at that time, Brisbane would have run out of water in 2007 or 2008. This is something people need to keep in mind.

Patrick Davis
January 12, 2011 7:24 pm

“Bob of Castlemaine says:
January 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm”
The bushfires in Western Australia were started by arsonists. Property lost, many hectares of bush burnt. Not sure if anyone has been lost.

Bob D
January 12, 2011 7:26 pm

Robert Ellison says:
January 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

No one has built (houses) in the 100 year flood plain or in the 100 year storm surge zone for decades in Australia. Do you think we are complete idiots?

OK, now I’m confused. What then about this:

“The major finding of this study is that the calculated one-in-100-year design flood flow . . . is about 1m to 2m higher than the current development control in the Brisbane River corridor. The simple option of saying that the current development control level represents the one-in-100-year flood level is not valid.”

James from Queensland
January 12, 2011 7:32 pm

Australia: Land of Droughts and Flooding Rains.
Every generation in Aus will face their Great drought, their great flood and their big bush fires. We are better prepared and equipped than ever to handle them but they still shock and awe us. But tragically we fail to learn the lessons of our parents and forget the past ,until it’s our turn, and then we ask why did we let houses be built there or why didn’t we build better flood mitigation infrastructure. And you know what? we will . This generation will build more infrastructure, more dams, and change the planning laws to make it safer for people in these areas. Thats what we always do.
Thats is, until the next generation…..
The Wivenhoe dam built after the 1974 floods (with over 2.5 Million Mega liters capacity ) has no doubt saved thousands of homes and businesses in Brisbane today.
Well done to those that had the gumption to build it.
As Rockhampton goes under again I saw these pics of people coping with the floods in traditional Aussie fashion.

R. de Haan
January 12, 2011 7:37 pm

Irresponsible Government officials, the lack to learn from the past and Green Stamped Warmist Government decisions have resulted in human disaster, deaths, wounded and billions of preventable damages.

Graeme W
January 12, 2011 7:52 pm

Scott R, Graeme W: You claim that a dam won’t keep Gympie safe. The proponents have studies showing otherwise. What do you have other than an assertion?

I’ve been looking for authoritative sources regarding the proposed dam, but I can’t find much. That would include sources from proponents, so if you could share links to those studies you reference, I’d like to read them.
In the meantime, here’s a (biased) statement about the problems with the proposal. You can see it supports Scott R’s comment about the terrain and dam location.
Harvey Bay’s council’s submission on the Environmental Impact Study re: the dam:
And a (biased) press article on the flood mitigation effects of the proposed dam:
which seems to refer to the following document about the flood mitigation characteristics of the proposed dam (which wouldn’t have been completed yet, anyway, as the proposed completion date was 2012):
The picture on the last page of that report is interesting — have a look at how much (or little) difference they believe it would have made.

How many fish are worth the lives lost?

I’m more with you here… but as I understand it the current number of lives lost in the Gympie area is zero, and I sincerely hope it stays there. If I’m right, then the question above is meaningless.

January 12, 2011 8:27 pm

smacca says:
January 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm
FrankK says:
January 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm
“Of course the 1893 flood level some 3 to 4 m above the 1974 and current water level with no “global warming” to speak of during 1893 doesn’t seem to fit your theory dear Sir. ”
The Wivenhoe Dam did not exist in 1974. How high do you think the current flood would have reached without the dam ?
Estimates are the dam would have reduced the water level by 1m perhaps 2m. Lets say for argument 2m. Now:
Peak flood level in 2011 was 4.6m + 2m = 6.6m.
The water level in 1893 was 8.35m

January 12, 2011 8:33 pm

Trucker Bob says:
January 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm
Hi Bob
Mate I’m in no position to correct anybodys post. I’m no expert in these matters.
My main point in the above comments was that when a natural disaster such as this occurs, a Royal Commission should be held, purely for the benefit of information gathering that may help with the inevitable future events. Think of it as a coroners report after a death.
Also, to correct the record. I don’t live in the Brisbane flood area. I live 30kms north in Strathpine which is in the North Pine Dam flood plain. My property is 5mins south of the dam with a creek bordering it.
My problem is/was the same as the Brisbane/Wivenhoe one where the North Pine Dam was frantically releasing water which inevitably added to the effects of the steady continual heavy rains that we suffered. My creek spilled over in a flash.
I don’t blame anyone for this. I believe the people responsible for the dams did their job to the best of their ability with the available information at hand.
p.s. At the depest end the water was 3 metres. I had to swim to get a couple of my horses whos hooves didn’t touch the ground. [we had a pleasant swim together] 🙂

January 12, 2011 8:42 pm

[snip – commentary about Andrew Bolt’s blog procedures is not relevant here – moderator]

January 12, 2011 8:45 pm

La Niña was a main factor, but I have to think the massive amounts of steam and volcanic aerosols from Merapi contributed the fuel to make this ever more devastating. I feel very ill, because I had the thoughts that this could very well happen.

January 12, 2011 8:51 pm

Spectacular…but gravely so. What a disaster.
Our hearts go out to these Queenslanders. And for the beautiful city of Brisbane and surrounding communities.
Stay well.
Norfolk, VA, USA

January 12, 2011 9:09 pm

Sorry, you lost me at Andrew Bolt… Let’s focus on assisting Queenslanders affected by the floods rather than blaming the ALP as Bolt tends to always do when a catastrophic event occurs.

January 12, 2011 9:48 pm

As I write this I’m watching another boat pontoon float past on the Brisbane river and the police boat racing off to another incident. The volume of water flowing down yesterday had to be seen to be believed. There were boats with no one aboard that had dragged the anchor, there were boats and jet ski’s that were still on the pontoons. We took every effort to shore up areas in our high rise to stop the water entering the property, boarded up the vents that were usually well above the river, sealed doors to service rooms for the pumps etc. We removed all the cars just in case. We now have 3/4 of the carpark flooded and after a walk around Brisbane today we are not the only ones. Getting quite a bit of walking in now as the lifts are out of action until the water is emptied and the clean up done. Ours is only property damage, all the units and office survived, I feel sorry for the ones that own the houses you see in the photo’s or the people and families that make the headline in a tragic way.
They say the flooding is bad but the clean up is worse, evil smelling mud that gets into every corner.
Thanks to Bah Humbug for the link, very interesting, I’m sure someone will be squirming soon when asked about this.

January 12, 2011 9:58 pm

“My advice indicates if we continue to experience below average rainfalls it could take several years (anywhere from five to ten years) for our major dam system to climb back up past 40 percent even with purified recycled water, desalination and the other measures we’re taking to supplement our water supplies.”
I’ve heard this kind of nonsense before. I was living in the Bay Area during the 1976/77 California drought. We were told by the experts that it would take years of above average rainfall to fill the empty reservoirs. Then came January 1978 and 31 days of rain. The reservoirs were filled in just a month.

January 12, 2011 10:07 pm

Ryan Maue,
Not in the tropics. The Tropic of Capricorn runs through Rockhampton. Most of the affected area is south of the Tropic.

Graeme W
January 12, 2011 10:15 pm

Were it not for the actions of Environment Minister Peter Garrett, for example, the Queensland town of Gympie would not now be underwater. Unfortunately, Garrett took it upon himself to block the proposed dam that would have prevented it.

Okay, maybe I’m missing something, but I’ve just tried to check the terrain around the site of the proposed dam and I’ve discovered it was south of Gympie. My reading of the map is that means it was downstream of Gympie.
So, how exactly does James Delinpole think that this dam would have stopped Gympie from flooding?
I hope I’ve just got the location wrong. Can someone who knows the region clarify where the dam was supposed to be? Upstream or downstream from Gympie?

January 12, 2011 11:23 pm

Marty says
This type of rain was meant to be a thing of the past
No one ever said this, you are making stuff up.
The frequency and severity droughts was predicted to increase. This was a speculative best guess conclusion because the climate modellers know that the models are not reliable enough to deal with regions.
The frequency of extreme weather events was predicted to increase. Extreme weather events means both hot, cold and wet events. This seems to be happening over the last few years but it could just be coincidence.
The amount of moisture in the air has trended up (3 out of 4 studies if memory serves). When warm moist weather systems hit cold weather systems you get more rain.
So the connection between warmer and rain is not a simple one.
Remember we have had record drought followed by a record flood so don’t dismiss the idea that this could be climate change-related to readily.

January 12, 2011 11:39 pm

Fred from Canuckistan says:
January 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm
Wasn’t there a massive death count just a few years back when bush fires rean amok because the greenies have outlawed any brush clearing, even on private property?
Maybe, and maybe it was because of the historically vicious weather conditions and greater population.

January 13, 2011 12:24 am

Garrett blocked the dam because Queenslanders DIDN’T want it.
Bolt’s article is justed designed to get support for the Queensland Liberal National party election platform of building dams.
Notice at lot of houses are on stumps. We are well aware of the risks of floods in Queensland.

wayne Job
January 13, 2011 12:36 am

To all those rambling on about the dam that was not built and any difference it would make. It is about the full flood mitigation project of many dams,levees and bypass channels that were never built, and were designed to not prevent floods but make them a minor inconvenience. This was prevented by many eco nuts whom have twisted the ears of government to protect some left handed lesser spotted toadstools, or some such nonsense. The engineers and scientists in the seventies were honest and set out the way to a safe future, one mitigation dam was built, a tiny part of the plan, yet it would appear even it helped. This normal cyclic weather may go a long way into mitigating the eco nuts out of the ears of those who govern. We can only wish those effected are safe and well, and those misguided fools who put humanity last, a mind tormented by the blood on their hands.

January 13, 2011 1:32 am

It’s unfortunate that so many people have been affected by the floods in Australia but I wonder why, given the history of the area, that flood mitigation measures weren’t taken? My first experience of flooding occurred when I lived in Winnipeg over 40 years ago and it was quite memorable to see how much damage a flood could do. My father passed on this concern with flooding to me and we lived in one of the highest sections of Winnipeg which was unaffected by the flooding.
The solution in Winnipeg, which is essentially all flat, was to build a massive floodway around the city so that floodwaters would travel around the city. This project was worked well as the last Red River floods didn’t affect the city. When one lives in flat, flood prone areas, then digging artificial river channels is the best way to mitigate the effects of floods when they happen. These are massive engineering projects and probably would have the watermelon faction of the population up in arms against them, but they do work. Given a choice between creating a river channel and having ones home destroyed by a flood, I have no hesitation in favoring flood mitigation.
One of the first things that I look at when deciding to live in a city is the history of flooding and other potential natural disasters. Where I live in Kamloops is several hundred feet above the nearest river and I really wonder about people who insist on building their homes right on the bank of the river when the last major flooding in this area would have resulted in all of their homes being underwater.
In Vancouver, the danger is earthquakes and I chose to live in downtown Vancouver which is the most seismically stable area of Vancouver being high up and essentially on a huge chunk of rock. The city of Richmond on the Fraser River is below sea level and all silt so an earthquake would result in massive flooding and possibly destruction of this part of greater Vancouver.
It’s very nice being on the bank of a river but I’d never put a house there as I’ve just seen too much flooding to even consider it. The other danger in Kamloops is fire and in 2003 BC had massive forest fires which destroyed sections of nearby Kelowna as some people liked to live within a forest. I like trees around but keeping brush cleared is essential. If someone likes living in a forest then building ones house out of concrete with either a metal or non-flammable shingled roof should be mandatory. Wildfires are also part of nature and one either clears away brush around houses or makes the houses fireproof.

Alexander K
January 13, 2011 1:42 am

My heartfelt sympathies are with those struggling with flooding in Australia at this moment and to those coming to terms with the loss of family members and much-loved friends.
Australia, as others have put it so well, is a land of stark contrasts and an incredibly dangerous environment. I have nothing but contempt for the Green idiots who set themselves up as guardians of fragile Nature, as nature is anything but fragile there; as one of my Oz cousins so nicely puts it, “ignore it or get it wrong and nature will bite yer arse off.” The story of Australia is the story of massive droughts followed by massive floods.
But the same story is repeated all over the world – I visited Boscastle in Cornwall weeks before it was devastated by a flash flood a very few years ago. I found the place a bit creepy and wondered why intelligent people would build a settlement inside a steep-sided drain that carries the run-off from a flood plain. I noted that Boscastle has been rebuilt in exactly the same place and style as before; to my knowledge, no serious flood-prevention works have been carried out upstream. The even more recent floods in the UK’s Midlands are similar – everything is being carefully rebuilt in the same manner and in the same place, but minor flood protection which seems to be too little and too late is being carried out there. When will people learn that building on flood plains is seriously stupid?
There has to be a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Queensland floods and their aftermath. Green stupidity and developers’ and council members’ cupidity have to be exposed for the criminal acts they are.

January 13, 2011 2:00 am

To those trying to answer my queries, thank you.
My last hydrology learning was some 25 years ago and I am supposedly qualified to actually build dams! but we don’t get to design or build many in the UK!
I assume (rightly or wrongly) that hydrological assessment and design is similar to that in the UK, with unit hydrographs, flood plain and flow analysis, 100 year return period rainfall events and such like. Anyway, on the presumption that the current events are unprecedented (as in period and amount of rainfall), this would mean that the design 100yr event was obviously erroneous. Thats not anyones fault, per se, because if it is a freak or extreme event only designing to grossly inflated factors of safety/capacity would ‘cover’ such events.
My query was really whether or not they could have had less of a flood peak, i.e. with less height/depth (and therefore affecting less land area) but perhaps for longer time if they had released a lot more water from the dam at a (much) earlier stage – and when the rainfall was getting too much, perhaps then, they could have shut the dam and reduced downstream effects? It is all hypothetical from my end obviously, but if I were a resident of the area, I would certainly be wanting to know the actual reasoning behind whatever actions were taken.
It is important to realise that nature (as always) can and will throw a spanner in the works, and no design can fully accommodate such events, but dare I say it – ‘modelling’ the recent rainfall event and a review of the actions of the water management, etc, may throw up a better flood protection plan in hindsight. Of course, this has little or no bearing on the likes of Toowoomba (flash flooding) but may have useful bearing on the affected areas in downtown Brisbane.
All the best to those out there……

Pull My Finger
January 13, 2011 5:47 am

Californians have a lot more to worry about than living on the coast. Wildfires, earthquakes, taxes, crime, illegal immigration, delusional hippies, self righteous actors, Jerry Brown, all rank higher than tsunami risk in reasons not to live in CA. 🙂
The people that live on the East Coast and Gulf Coast on the other hand are really rolling the dice. You can pretty much count on getting hit by a fairly sizable hurricane about once every 30 years anywhere from Texas to North Carolina. And you can guarantee one those will be a Katrina or Andrew sized disaster. Frankly I’m surprised insurance comapnies will even write policies for the area, at least for second homes.

January 13, 2011 6:00 am

The dam will act as an amelioration for floods even when full. The spillway capacity is a function of width and depth ( freeboard ). If the dam is spilling and a large surge of water arrives then the water level will rise and more water will go over the spillway.
Over time the water level will drop once more ( if the dam hasn’t over topped or been otherwise breached ) . This has the effect of flattening out the peak of the flood to a reduced amount but over a longer period. The bigger the impounded lake is in area and the more generous the amount of free board in height the more effective a damper the dam will be.
Think of a bath full to the overflow, when you pour in a bucket of water the level rises and then gradually falls as the buckets’ contents go out the overflow over time.

January 13, 2011 10:48 am

Check out this site.
It might give you a different perspective on whether the flooding in Queensland is a result of a recent increase in the frequency of extreme weather. It seems to me that the region has always suffered extreme weather events.
Moreover, it would appear that the trend is actually in reverse of what you purport. According to the graphs at the link, the most severe flooding was in the late 1800’s with recent years being much “quieter” (if one can refer to nearly annual flood events somewhere in Queensland as “quiet”)

January 13, 2011 4:55 pm

RE: Lazy Teenager – “Noone ever said this, you are making stuff up”
Your’e right in a way, a scientist wouldn’t be so stupid as to say that, but what about the relentless pitch put to the Australian people by state and federal govts about declining rainfall? In the public consciousness it wasn’t meant to happen. It’s about now that climate scientists go for their finer print. How do you put the case for a desal plant without claiming it won’t rain as much. There was never anything remarkable about our drought or rainfall numbers yet that is miles away from public consciousness. Did any of our illustrious climate scientists object to this skewing? Of course not. They were more likely to dish out their crap to fawning reporters at every opportunity.

shortie of greenbank
January 13, 2011 5:26 pm

Kev-in-UK says:
January 13, 2011 at 2:00 am
Since they can control the flow to do with the tides associated with the Brisbane River I would assume much of the full releases they had started to do were in conjunction with firstly the low tide and secondly when flood levels were expected to be lower. I haven’t seen any information as to the release status as at times expected to impact the maximum height of the flooding in the Brisbane area.

January 13, 2011 11:41 pm

As for the experts supposedly not knowing about a forthcoming disaster such as the one which just occurred (as Andrew Bolt stated), as a matter of fact the chief meteorologist in Brisbane briefed Queensland’s Premier back in October, warning her of the likelihood of potentially devastating floods to hit the state.

January 14, 2011 2:31 pm

A University of Technology, Sydney report stated that “the proposed Traveston Dam near Gympie could pump up to 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere each year”
I have been to a lot of dams, some of which generate electricity, but I have never seen a smokestack, could someone please explain to me, how exactly do you generate greenhouse gases by capturing and releasing water?

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