Operator of dam ‘invented’ rain data
EXTREME rainfall so rare it happens on average once every 2000 years has been “invented” by the government operator of a major Queensland dam as part of its explanation for releasing huge volumes of water that caused most of Brisbane’s January flood.
The claim by SEQWater in its official report that a “one-in-2000-year” rainfall event occurred over the Wivenhoe Dam at a critical stage on January 11 has been widely reported in the media and cited by senior public servants to justify the near loss of control of the dam at the time.
But no such rainfall event was measured by any rainfall gauges. Instead, the claim was manufactured by SEQWater after it modelled the rapid rise of levels in the dam, repositioned rainfall data to an area immediately upstream of the dam, and then doubled it.
After extrapolating in this unusual way to achieve an extreme number, the SEQWater report states: “Rainfall of this intensity and duration over the Wivenhoe Dam lake area at such a critical stage of a flood event was unprecedented.
The technical report by SEQWater shows it relied on a manual gauge of dam levels, not the actual rainfall in gauges, to extrapolate data to claim the occurrence of a one-in-2000-year event.
However, in doing this, SEQWater disregarded the data from a nearby electronic gauge, which showed dam levels lower than those in the manual gauge.
Full story here
My heart goes out to the people of Queensland and in particular, Brisbane, where I visited last year. Heads should roll over this. h/t to WUWT reader Betapug
UPDATE: Reader Frank K points out this article by skeptical cartoonist John Cook in ABC:
The essay was also posted on his antithetically named “Skeptical Science” blog:
He’s right about one thing, this event IS personal, and preventable. And, I’m willing to bet there will be scads of very personal lawsuits by people who have been grievously harmed by the government ineptitude in managing the dam.
If Mr. Cook has any integrity, he’ll retract his story. But, I doubt he will.