I am sure many readers will be surprised this month to read that a local council in Victoria is incorporating flood mapping for the first time in its local development controls. However, there are many councils throughout Australia who have only this decade recognised that limits need to be placed on development due to flood risk and there are others who are still holding out. Even where development controls in relation to flooding exist, very often risks beyond the 1% AEP event are not considered.
We also report on more climate change research which suggests that flooding will only get worse in Australia and that this has already been happening in north-western Europe. And while cities such as Perth are making plans for future frequent inundation, a group of farmers in the midst of a drought, are calling for more action on climate change to mitigate increasing weather extremes including floods.
Meanwhile, there is genetic research underway to see whether the genes which make crops like rice flood resistant can be switched on in other crops to mitigate agricultural losses from floods. Other innovations we report on this month include a new satellite which will be able to more accurately map flood extents in remote locations and a couple of Australian start-ups using artificial intelligence and machine learning to make more accurate real-time flash flood forecasts.
It’s also great to see that a Young Floodplain Managers Network is starting up within Floodplain Management Australia. These are the people who will be using the new tools and technologies to deal with the evolving flood challenges long after others of us have retired. Let’s give them the encouragement and support they need to rise to those challenges.