New dam an option in flood strategy
RAISING the dam wall at Borumba and the potential for a new dam on the Stanley River near Peachester are two of a series of options the State Government will explore in a bid to provide greater flood protection to Brisbane and Ipswich.
Premier Campbell Newman has nominated eight locations across south-east Queensland that may form part of a strategy to offset the impact of the level of flooding that was seen in January, 2011.
However ,one of Australia's leading hydrological engineers, Max Winders of MWA Consultants, has urged the Government to revisit the original design concepts for the Wivenhoe Dam expansion, which he said would ultimately prove the most cost-effective solution.
The options that would affect the Sunshine Coast include raising the Borumba Dam wall at Yabba Creek in the Mary River catchment to increase its capacity by 300,000 megalitres, and building a new dam on the Stanley River which would have a 184,000 megalitre yield.
The approach has attracted criticism that it could potentially starve Fraser Coast agriculture of water.
Brooloo grazier Ron McMah says the Government continues to ignore a strategy that would revitalise the Mary Valley's economy, boost Brisbane's flood immunity and guarantee strategic water reserves for south-east Queensland.
He contends that a larger Borumba Dam wall, which would capture more than two million megalitres of water and be high enough for a hydro-electrical plant, would solve a number of problems.
Water could be pumped from Wivenhoe and Somerset to increase their flood capability during the wet season and flow the other way during drought.
The two-way flow would be gravity fed once pumped to Jimna.
"This is very early days and I stress to those landowners in the areas affected that there is a lot of work that needs to be undertaken before any plans are implemented," Mr Newman said.
"But it is our duty to do whatever work we can to investigate all possible options."
A scoping study will also take place to look at raising bridge levels below Wivenhoe Dam.
Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the Government would consider practical, sensible and affordable ways to protect more people from future floods.
"Unlike Labor, this Government is very upfront and honest about the trade-offs people should expect in order to provide greater flood protection for more local homes and businesses," Mr McArdle said.
"This Government has already moved on from simply thinking about how to reduce downstream flood risks to engaging in a public discussion about how we can build-in greater flood mitigation.''