Related - Floodplain Manager April 2019

Brisbane River Strategic Floodplain Management Plan Released

The Brisbane River Strategic Floodplain Management Plan is the latest addition to the unified Brisbane River Catchment management plan framework.

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In 2017, the Queensland government partnered with Seqwater and the four local governments of Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset and Lockyer Valley to produce the Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study in response to major flooding in 2011.  This study was used to inform the new Brisbane River Strategic Floodplain Management Plan released this month. The long-term regional management plan considers current and future flood risk, disaster management, mitigation infrastructure, community resilience, building guides, land use planning and landscape management in order to strengthen the flood resilience of communities living, working and visiting the Brisbane River floodplain. The plan seeks to unify regional floodplain management across the four local governments under one consistent and coordinated approach to improve and inform management plans at a local level. The Strategic Plan includes 52 recommendations for the Queensland and local governments to implement (Read here).

Flood Boat Deployed in Midst of Drought

An SES boat has been commissioned to transport residents across the flooded Bullo River in a drought stricken Queensland town.

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The town of Thargomindah located 1,000km west of Brisbane in the Bulloo Shire, has been drought-declared for the past seven years. However, recent flooding of the Bullo River which has been unparalleled since 2011, saw the deployment of a brand new SES flood boat to ferry supplies and people across the rising flood waters (Read here).

Australian Households Shifting to Mitigation for an Insurable Future

Australia is prone to multiple disasters including floods which in the 10 years to 2016 accumulated an average total economic cost of $19 billion per annum.

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 Traditionally, national disaster resilience strategies and expenditure in Australia is allocated to response and recovery with only three to four per cent of spending being allocated to mitigation measures. Although evidence suggests that implemented mitigation strategies such as flood levees, early warning systems and education programs have long-term financial returns, they are often overshadowed by post-disaster priorities. This paper uses three case studies, including the 2011-2012 Queensland floods, to evaluate proposed mitigation strategies and the implications they present in terms of insurability. In spite of government post-disaster funding, most households rely on insurance for recovery. However affordability is a significant issue for many households due to a 41% rise in premiums for frequent flooding areas, and a further 32% of low income earners being unable to afford home contents insurance. The paper suggests that government funded mitigation measures would substantially alleviate the pressures on socio-economically disadvantaged households and households in high risk areas (Read here).

Improving Flood Forecasting Based on Rainfall Forecasts

A paper published in Water has demonstrated that interdisciplinary themes can be combined to improve flood forecasts and warnings.

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The Flooding from Intense Rainfall (FFIR) programme is a multidisciplinary partnership between university researchers and the UK meteorological office. In this study, researchers sought to integrate an end-to-end forecasting system for flash and surface-water floods to enhance lead time in warnings for such events. Using findings from the FFIR programme, researchers proposed multi-faceted improvements to an end-to-end forecasting system including improved radar-derived rainfall rates and understanding of the uncertainty in the position of intense rainfall in weather forecasts through the use of dual-polarised radars; the addition of hydraulic modelling components; and novel education techniques such as virtual reality games to help lead to effective dissemination of flood warnings (Read here).

Future Hydro-Hazards Hot-Spots Identified

In the context of increasing hydro-climatic risk driven by climate change, researchers in the UK have developed a technique to predict future hot-spots for hydro-hazards.

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Traditionally, climate modelling and water management decisions have been based on historical meteorological data. This study sought to develop a more robust and consistent statistical framework to quantify changes in frequency, magnitude, duration, and time of year in order to identify future hot-spot areas that may be impacted by increased floods or droughts.  The applications of this method lie in better understanding the impact of climate change impact on identified hydro-hazards, and ultimately informing stakeholders and decision-makers (Read here ).

Aftermath: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi After Idai

In early March tropical Cyclone Idai swept through Africa’s south east leaving hundreds dead, thousands displaced, and widespread disease in its wake (FM March 2019).

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Although the immediate risk presented by flood waters has subsided, many thousands of people are still unable to return to their homes that were irreparably damaged or destroyed. As of April 8, more than 160,000 people were still sheltering in 164 camps set up across Mozambique. The total death toll across the three countries is thought to be greater than 800. The World Health Organization has reported increased incidences of water-borne diseases such as malaria and cholera since Cyclone Idai first hit the region. In Mozambique alone there has been a reported 3,600 new cases of cholera since 14 March. In response, a total of 900,000 cholera vaccines were distributed by government and partners. The cyclone has had a devastating effect on the livelihoods of those living in the region with an estimated 500,000 hectares of crops accounting for $1 billion, being destroyed. The response plans for immediate humanitarian needs for these countries has fallen well short of what has been required and as this edition of  Floodplain Manager was published an even larger cyclone, cyclone Kenneth, made landfall on 25 April just six weeks after Idai causing further misery from those trying to recover (Read here, here, and here).

Role-Playing Game Using Flood Forecasts

University researchers have developed a game which allows players to protect a city from flooding using weather forecasts.

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Louise Arnal and Professor Hannah Cloke from the University of Reading’s Weather Research Division created IMPREXive, a so called “serious game” to give players first-hand experience of the challenges of using, often conflicting, ensemble flood forecasts for decision-making. The decisions that players make in the game have direct effects on their popularity amongst the city’s population. A wrong decision will mean losing people’s trust and reducing the chance that they will evacuate the city when urged to do so. The game denotes the complexity of decisions based on forecasts, and the importance of developing solid analytic skills to make smart decisions under pressure (Read more here).

Satellite Data Refines Flood Exposed Population Estimates

Satellite data sets are being used to improve the accuracy in modelling flood risk for vulnerable populations worldwide.

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Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK have been able to greatly improve the accuracy of models which predict exposure to hazardous flooding through the use of satellite data. While prior studies have relied on global population data sets at a census level, satellite images at a resolution of 1.6 metres have allowed the total population count to be allocated only amongst identified buildings. Using this technique, researchers have been able to model more accurately the risks faced by countries like Malawi. Previous datasets estimated that 80% of Malawi’s floodplain areas were populated. Using the new satellite dataset, researchers found the area to be closer to 2%.  However, population densities were shown to be higher in those locations. The increased insight gained by this method may improve the allocation limited resources and flood defence strategies due to a better understanding of flood risk (Read more here ).

International Floods

There were 39 international floods reported across 13 countries throughout April 2019. At least 158 people died and over 100,600 were displaced.

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Internationally significant floods included:

Indonesia

Heavy rainfall has triggered landslides and flooding killing 30 people and displacing more than 10,000 in the Jakarta Region and Bengkulu and Lampung Provinces of Indonesia. In the Bengkulu province flooding and landslides have caused damage to livestock, 184 houses, seven schools, as well as dozens of roads and several bridges. Rainfall as high as 144mm in 24 hours in Atang Senjaya was recorded on 26 April (Read more here).

Iran

Exceptionally heavy rainfall starting 17 March (FM March 19) has continued and widespread flooding has now affected 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces. Recorded rainfall from late March to early April has seen places such as Golestan receive 70% of its annual rainfall (300mm) in just one day. The death toll is thought to be 78 with a total of 10 million people affected and 86,000 displaced. The flood waters have had a devastating effect on the country’s infrastructure with 25,000 homes thought to be demolished, 60,000 homes damaged, one third of the country’s road networks washed away and 84 bridges damaged. Agricultural damage has been estimated to be in excess of $1 billion. Unofficial estimates have put the total economic cost at $3.6 billion which would rank as the second most expensive flood in Iranian history, behind the floods of April–June 1992 (Read more here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Ghana

Heavy rainfall in parts of Ghana has caused flash flooding which has displaced hundreds and killed 12 people in the capital city of Accra. Heavy rainfall was recorded in several areas including 319 mm in Akuse over the course of 24 hours (Read more here and here).

Columbia

Severe weather has brought flooding and landslides which affected the departments of Antioquia, Nariño, Cauca, Cundinamarca and Huila in Columbia leaving 13 dead (Read more here and here).

Brazil

A total of 13 people have been killed and 3,000 people displaced by flash floods in Rio de Janeiro and the state of Piauí in Brazil. At least six locations in Rio de Janeiro recorded more than 300 mm of rain in 24 hours which is more than three times the monthly average. Flood water has swept away cars and uprooted trees across the city causing major road blocks and severely affecting traffic and public transport (Read more here).

Diary

2019 Floodplain Management Australia Conference
Canberra, ACT
14 - 17 May, 20197
website

ASFPM 43rd Annual National Conference
Cleveland, Ohio
19 - 23 May, 2019
website

Deadline for FMA Excellence Awards Extended
The awards will now close on Friday 5 April, 2019 at 11:59pm
For more information visit website

Infrastructure Thought Leaders Series: Sustainable Surface Water Management (NSW)
Topic: Hear from Industry experts about where the future of sustainable surface water management is heading in Australia.
Hosted by: Engineers Australia
When: 17:45pm, 22 May, 2019
Location: Brickworks Design Studio
For more information visit website

Resources

The Science Behind Vanishing Ice - New Immersive Mixed Reality

The weather channel has produced a short immersive mixed reality video that explains the repercussions of glacial melt on American cities in 2100 (Click here).

Flood Toolkit for Public Health and Emergency Response

The UK Environment Agency has published a report outlining where funding should be allocated to reduce the effects of future flood scenarios based on climate change, population and mapping data (Website).

Optimising Planned Flood Evacuations

An article published in the Journal of Environmental Hazards has discussed the development of an optimisation pattern using GIS tools and vehicle traffic modelling applications to guide preventative evacuation of people in flood-risk areas at the first signs of flooding (Website).