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Brisbane’s Man-made Flood Peak?

In Australia we’re all watching the flood news unfold. Right now, two friends are trapped without electricity in an apartment building in inner Brisbane. The ground floor below them is inundated. Troy and Jan wrote on Tuesday night that they had little warning their exit route would be cut off, and by the time they knew it was, it was too late to leave. They were rushing to cook meals before the electricity went off and were expecting to lose the car. — My thoughts go out to them, and to those who are so much worse off. Which brings us to questions about what might have been.

The major dam above Brisbane, the Wivenhoe, may have missed the opportunity to release serious quantities of water in the week or two leading up to the major flood peak. Because the Wivenhoe was almost completely full, when the big danger-day came  they could do very little but eek out a small amount of water into what was a rising flood, with little capacity to absorb the massive flows. There are hard questions to be asked about water management.

It’s one of the severest La Nina seasons on record, and with above average rainfall already recorded across much of Queensland and parts of the state in flood, should the dam have been partially emptied when it was safe to release the water? Would it have made a significant difference to that wall of water if they had?  — JN

Guest Post by Ian Mott from  RegionalStates.

How SEQ Water failed “Flood Mitigation 101”. (13/01/11)

On the morning of 12th January, the day before the flood peak that inundated the Brisbane CBD and much of Ipswich, Brian Williams of Brisbane’s Courier Mail, in a masterpiece of misreporting by omission, reported that releases from Wivenhoe Dam were to be reduced from an overnight peak of 645,000 megalitres/day to 205,000 ML/day with the stated aim of “allowing the Bremer River and Lockyer River to subside, thereby easing floods on Brisbane downstream.”

“Wivenhoe Dam levels had dropped just 1 per cent from the previous night, reflecting the massive volumes of water flowing into the storage from its 7020 km2 catchment.” That 1% drop was from a dam capacity of 191% and is an oblique way of saying that the massive flood surge buffer had been pushed close to its limits and they now had no choice but to dump the same amount of water that was flowing into the dam.

What wasn’t mentioned was the fact that for more than a week prior to this large release, only 170,000 ML/day was being released as the storage capacity was allowed to rise to 191% from two weeks of heavy rains. And this meant the carefully designed flood buffer, having been taken to its limits, could no longer function as a buffer. The city was entirely at the mercy of the elements and it would only have taken another 37mm of rain in the catchment to hit the limits.

And as it takes 36 hours for water to flow from Wivenhoe to the CBD then it is absolutely clear that the flood peak of Wednesday night and Thursday morning was a direct result of the previous night’s forced release of the total inflow from the catchment. And this was only necessary because SEQ Water had spent two weeks releasing much less water than was being captured, into a river that was still well below minor flood level.

The article went on to report that releases would go back up to 301,000 ML/day in a few days to reduce the flood buffer volume and that this level of release was, “unlikely to cause a second significant rise in the river.”

What wasn’t mentioned in relation to the reduction from the overnight peak of 645,000 megalitres/day to 205,000 ML/day, with the stated aim of “allowing the Bremer River and Lockyer River to subside, thereby easing floods on Brisbane downstream,” was the fact that the earlier large forced release did the direct opposite. It prevented the Bremer and Lockyer Rivers from subsiding and exacerbated the flooding of Brisbane downstream.

By reducing releases to only 205,000 ML/Day after the peak discharge, SEQ Water is essentially admitting that the peak discharge impaired the flow from the Bremer and Lockyer Rivers by about 100,000 ML/day over that 36 hour period, which they then had to remedy with a lower Wivenhoe release.

At this point you might ask, “so why didn’t they release 300,000ML/day before the buffer was fully extended?” If they had done so there would not have been any need for a larger forced release at all.

Limited Wivenhoe releases on Monday and Tuesday were justified because the flash flooding in the Bremmer and Lockyer Valleys needed somewhere to go. But that doesn’t explain the low releases right through the previous week to Sunday the 9th January. Larger pre-releases in the order of 300,000 ML/day would have maintained sufficient buffer to ensure that no flood peak occurred at all. The river would have kept on flowing at minor flooding level right through this period.

What sort of people, in Queensland of all places, in a strong La Nina wet season, would not start serious dam releases when they were already at capacity, with saturated catchments, in the first week of December? Surely, pre-releases would be more prudent than post-releases in such circumstances?

We need a full inquiry into why this dam managed by SEQ Water, and others managed by Sunwater, were managed in a way that actually produced the kind of flood it was designed to prevent.

[Update: 13/01/11 4.53pm, The spin is on in full. Television reports are now wrongly reporting that the drop back from the temporary high release volume was instrumental in preventing a worse flood peak.]

UPDATE: From Jo

There is avid discussion in the comments, and much remains unknown. Thanks to many informed comments (a few copied here).

#10 David Cain: Wivenhoe has two functions – water supply and flood mitigation. “100% capacity” means 100% capacity of the water supply function. The dam is full at “225% capacity” – so the dam’s flood mitigation capacity is more than its water supply capacity. I am told that the dam operators are required by law to lower the dam level to “100%” within a week, although river heights downstream need to be taken into consideration.

The dam levels were repeatedly lowered to 100% before the present crisis http://www.seqwater.com.au/public/dam-levels

#31 Ian Mott replies:

David Cain#9 and John Watt#19 need to bear in mind that dams that do not have any flood surge capacity have routinely mitigated flood peaks by simply dropping their water level below full capacity just before the flood. The argument that flood volume couldn’t be released on Sat/Sun/Mon is bollocks. The rapid flow in the Lockyer didn’t take place till monday and it still needed a day to get to the confluence of the Wivenhoe flows. By wednesday the Wivenhoe flows were accounting for 80%, ie 8000/10000 m2/sec of lower river flows. This is all very much SEQ Water’s work.

They all took the weekend off and watched a 1 in 120 year flood event turn a simple task into a crisis they couldn’t deal with by Monday afternoon. All the folks who’s homes and businesses didn’t go under until Wednesday can rest assured that, despite their policies, they are actually fully insured, courtesy of the SEQ Water public liability policy. And if they SEQ Water doesn’t have a policy then the rate payers of the major shareholders, the State Government, Brisbane City Council, Ipswich Council and a number of others who are not anywhere near the flood zone, will eventually foot the entire bill. The meter is already ticking on the class action.

See Also Pat #17,  John from CA #20,  Treeman #24 #25 (The link to Hedley Thomas story is here) Craigo #47

Treeman #42:

Wyvenhoe was at 105% on January 7. But it was at 101.9 on January 4, 102.9 on January 6 and by January 10 it had crept up to 144.3. Conveniently there is no data shown at SEQ Water for January 8 or January 9 which are precisely the days when SEQ Water should have been releasing water at full bore! Not surprisingly these days were Saturday and Sunday when bureaucrats were fiddling, dam was rapidly filling and no-one could decide whether to open all the floodgates. By Friday night they would have known that the rate of increase was alarming. The dam level would have been over 130% by Saturday. It takes 36 hours for the flood release to get to Brisbane CBD. For the sake of more than minor flooding the gates could have been fully opened on Friday and closed on Sunday as the impacts of local heavy falls were starting to be seen in the river. This is what were told the Wyvenhoe was all about.

Robuk #26 Sums up the bigger issue.

It appears that your government have stopped development near the coast because of the non existent sea level rise but allowed development within a flood plain:

http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/Australianfloods3.jpg
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/Ausralianfloodlevels2.jpg

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.5/10 (4 votes cast)
Brisbane’s Man-made Flood Peak?, 5.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/c5t3stj

336 comments to Brisbane’s Man-made Flood Peak?

  • #
    Brian G Valentine

    I’m very sorry for all the people of Brisbane and environs.

    I am prematurely hearing AGW maniacs start squealing and blaming, and I am prematurely becoming angry for it (which will redouble my anger when I actually hear it)

    So I don’t want to read the links that connect this when they appear here


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  • #

    Going by the sequence of events detailed in the post, the mistiming of the water releases can only be a contributing factor in this tragedy. Some sort of investigation is needed in order to learn the lessons so the same mistakes won’t be made at a future date.

    Pointman


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  • #
    Richard S Courtney

    I,too, offer my concern and prayers for all affected by this tragedy.

    Richard


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  • #
    grayman

    Pointman i agree with you on that but the same mistakes will keep on happening, as is the case of the flooding, i think in the murray darlin basin as shown here on Jo blog where she was wondering why they were releasing more water down stream and causing more flooding when it was not necassary, but the offiacals in charge said they had to because of the parliment made a law that they had to release so much a day no matter what. Probrably a wrong way to put it but all i can think of at the moment, and yes i really do hope for the whole of Australia that a lot of lessons are learned and heads roll for this!


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    Nick

    I’m in awe of some of these ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances dealing with their circumstances in extraordinary ways.

    I’m particularly interested in watching the Men. All of a sudden they are thrust back to the basic emotion of protecting Women, Children and the property that shelters them. Keep it up Men!

    Now to change the subject before I get too emotional and start rambling incoherantly;-)…

    Has anyone told the sate sponsored forecasters to try a run of, lets say, 3 months of forecasting with out allowing for AGW and seeing how accurate they are? Just a thought. :-)


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  • #
    Nick

    Brian G @ 1

    Don’t go reading Bolta’s blog then. Don’t click here :-)

    They started 2 days ago on the ABC (its a shame the ABC doesn’t learn it’s ABC’s, read, and pay attention to what they read) :-(


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  • #
    Jaymez

    I too have friends and family who are caught up in the disaster in Ipswich and Brisbane. But I can’t help but see an irony in the situation.

    All the shire councils know what the water levels were in 1974 and other floods before then. It was therefore a fair and reasonable call that at some time in the future those water levels would be reached again. So a responsible government has two choices, don’t let people build in areas which are clearly flood prone, or take flood mitigation measures to ensure those water levels can’t be reached again. Or a combination of both.

    For a dam to provide flood mitigation it needs to carry at most 50% of maximum capacity to enable it to take up large flows when they happen. So lots of dams are needed for serious flood mitigation. They built the Wivenhoe Dam, but not much else. In fact one expert was suggesting a number of dams had been decommissioned in Queensland. It also appears as Jo has pointed out, that Wivenhoe may have been lacking proper flood mitigation procedures.

    The irony is that Shire Councils around Australia have been refusing building and development applications on the basis of the IPCC/CSIRO sea level rise estimates, saying it would be foolhardy to allow building in areas which could be under threat from rising sea levels. We are also being told we need a carbon tax and we need to take all sorts of climate change mitigation action.

    So as a society we take more action on hotly debated speculation about possible sea level rises, than we do on the known likelihood of flooding in certain areas. Dumb huh?


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  • #
    Siliggy

    Waterwise and flood foolish?
    What will happen to Canberra and Queanbeyan next time there is heavy rain?
    http://www.actewagl.com.au/water/facts/damCapacity.aspx
    Googong dam caught a lot of it Just before the recent floods.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VP6FiVpgUE
    Less than a week after 100%
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TcIqwdIzrk


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  • #
    Michael of Brisbane

    Don’t click on this link then Brian!
    http://www.acfonline.org.au/articles/news.asp?news_id=3281

    It’s the latest newsletter from The Australian Conservation Foundation. (ACF)
    I’ll quote shall I?
    “The Queensland floods are another reminder of what climate science has been telling us for 25 years. As well as a general warming and increasing sea levels, it predicted more frequent extreme events: floods, droughts, heatwaves and severe bushfires.”
    BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    (No-one ever had floods or bushfires before AGW kicked in did they??)

    I know it’s easy to get angry when one reads stuff like this, but I DO believe the more absurd the NEO-GEO Religious fervour becomes, the more it will be seen for the fraud that it is.

    My family and I are not directly affected by the flood, but we are all going to spend the weekend helping in the big clean-up.
    After reading this article I’m feeling a bit non-plussed though. I guess there will be a lot more discussions about the role of SEQ Water in this.
    It also makes me think it’s another example of how man-kind CANNOT control nature.
    Whether it’s trying to prevent flood, or fire, or limiting, or even causing the climate to change.


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  • #
    David Cain

    Wivenhoe has two functions – water supply and flood mitigation. “100% capacity” means 100% capacity of the water supply function. The dam is full at “225% capacity” – so the dam’s flood mitigation capacity is more than its water supply capacity. I am told that the dam operators are required by law to lower the dam level to “100%” within a week, although river heights downstream need to be taken into consideration.

    The interactive graph facility at the bottom of the following link shows that the dam levels were repeatedly lowered to 100% before the present crisis – so the present criticism is misplaced.

    http://www.seqwater.com.au/public/dam-levels


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    I am curious.

    Does anybody know if the Wivenhoe dam is used for hydro generation as well as flood mitigation? [I can't be donkeyed to look it up myself].

    If it is, then the situation gets a lot more complicated because of the need to balance electrical network load as well as balance the upstream and downstream water flow rates.


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    David Cain: #10

    I am impressed! How did you manage to answer my question two minutes before I asked it? That is weird.


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  • #
    Jeremy

    Somewhere someone is blaming George Bush Jr for this.

    Keep your chin up Aussies, from this side of the ocean it looks like you guys are having better reality checks on government stupidity than we are.


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  • #
    janama

    David Cain – the Wivenhoe dam works in tandem with the Somerset dam which is also designed as a flood mitigation dam. It appears that the Somerset dam was also near full when the rain occurred.

    Unfortunately the output of Wivenhoe enters the Brisbane River downstream from Ipswich so the water from the Bremer River would still have flooded Brisbane anyway.


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  • #
    Thumbnail

    I really think Greeen policy needs to be scrutinised. I am driving the clean up of one Brisbane apartment building with our Chairman, Manager and countless others who have leant a helping hand. I want to use Garrett as a flood marker. And Brown. He would be good in Gympie, cause they get big ones there. Fluddy, Muddy, Bluddy hell.


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  • #

    This is a developing situation. Lives have been lost and at this point, the people trying to fix it now realise that the odds are that more lives will be lost too. They’re making decisions and doing everything possible to minimise that but it’s a fact of the situation. That last time there was a flood like that was over three generations ago so irrespective of what ‘training’ they’ve received, they’re all in learning mode and I do wish them luck. This is operational so some of the decisions they’re going to make may turn out in retrospect not to have been optimal.

    In situations like this, anyone who’s on the spot pitches in because they’re there. We’re not. It’s natural to look for culprits but that’s pointless at the moment. Let’s do the blame game when the thing’s over.

    In the meantime, if any of our cousins in Oz can get messages of any sort to the people trapped by the water, tell them two things. First, hang on, help’s on the way. Second, you can last without food a long time but not water. Boil it before you drink it, even if it’s from the cistern of your house.

    I know from experience just how good Aussie men and women are at hanging on in when the going gets tough. I wish you guys luck.

    Pointman


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  • #
    pat

    the authorities would not ease water restrictions to reduce levels in the dams long before october. the following shows just how ridiculous this obsession with hoarding the water no-one could use was:

    12 Oct: Australian: Andrew Fraser and Jared Owens: Water until 2018, and it didn’t cost $9bn
    DRENCHING rains have delivered southeast Queensland enough water to last until 2018 without another drop falling from the sky.
    However, the state is still paying for the $9 billion spent only two years ago for a water grid to “drought-proof” the region..
    While there is currently eight years’ water supply in the dams, if this extra infrastructure were to keep operating, southeast Queensland would not run out of water until 2021…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/water-until-2018-and-it-didnt-cost-9bn/story-fn59niix-1225937390684

    why on earth would we be storing that amount of water?

    only now – after the disaster – are the public (in brisbane only) being offered $100 credits on their water bills, in order to clean up their flooded properties.

    why isn’t everyone being offered the same in this region, as water is being released from Wivenhoe into the Brisbane River anyway which will slow the speed of the river’s recession, if that is the correct way of putting it? of course, the last thing many people want now is more water, but the dam levels need to be reduced before more rains come and the flooding recurs.


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  • #
    Jud

    If there was any justice in the world the desalination plant would be flooded rather than the good citizens.
    Almost the definition of ‘irony’ as well…


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  • #
    janama

    You can see in this page from the chart at the bottom of the page that both Somerset and Wivenhoe dams were at 100% throughout December.

    http://www.seqwater.com.au/public/dam-levels


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  • #
    John from CA

    Janama:
    January 14th, 2011 at 7:11 am
    David Cain – the Wivenhoe dam works in tandem with the Somerset dam which is also designed as a flood mitigation dam. It appears that the Somerset dam was also near full when the rain occurred.

    Unfortunately the output of Wivenhoe enters the Brisbane River downstream from Ipswich so the water from the Bremer River would still have flooded Brisbane anyway.

    =======
    I took a look at the link David provided and it appears to present conflicting information. The capacity charts indicate that from January 11 to present, both dams rose from 100% full supply to over 180% of total capacity. WOW that’s a lot of water in a very short period of time.

    However, if you take a look at the “Catch Store and Treat” page for the Somerset Dam, you’ll find its over total capacity; see Quick Facts. This has to be a mistake.

    Somerset Dam Quick Facts
    Full Supply Capacity: 379,849 ML
    Current Capacity: 651,026 ML (100.0% full) at 13/01/2011 10:00AM
    Flood Mitigation: 155,000ML above full capacity, totalling 524,000ML

    “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.”


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  • #
    DavidR

    I can only think that the attack on the Wivenhoe Dam, which was at 105% capacity one week ago and therefore appropriately ready for this weeks rains is an attempt to distract readers from the massive rainfalls in Queensland this year.

    With double the rainfall in the catchment compared to 1974, the dam appears to have achieved its purpose and saved Brisbane from far worse floods than those experienced in 1974.

    Last time we had an el Nino of this severity (1917) we did not see the same massive rainfalls. Queensland floods in 1917 were not dissimilar from other years.

    AGW has predicted that we will see more extreme weather events like the current floods in Queensland. Perhaps the higher temperatures and warmer seas AGW has brought have contributed here.


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  • #
    John Watt

    I think we need to take a step back and consider the bigger picture.

    SE Qld over the past month or so has been very wet.This followed some years of very dry weather…dams at very low capacity.Not so long ago Toowoomba residents were voting on the introduction of re-cycled water into their extremely depleted dams.
    The Toowoomba and district tragedy is in no way a result of Wivenhoe/Somerset management. One suggestion is that a couple of creeks that used to drain central Toowoomba have ,over the past century, been converted into storm water drains. Mother Nature decided to reclaim the creeks. The water that caused Toowoomba’s tragedy added to the difficulty of the Wivenhoe management task.
    Wivenhoe clearly took the top off the Brisbane flood level. Without Wivenhoe it would have exceeded 1974 levels. Thousands of Brisbane residents and businesses are relieved and thankful.

    Clearly Wivenhoe will help our community through the next dry spell. Contrary to the PM’s response to Abbott this country needs more Wivenhoe’s. Flood relief, drought relief and electricity geeneration in the one package. A pretty effective piece of infrastructure.


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  • #
    Donald

    Pointman (7:14), there will be no announced time when the blame-game can start. Of course, that is to the advantage of those who would like to suffer no criticism. If someone does point the finger later on there will be the usual, “oh no, let’s not bring that up again, etc”.

    There is nothing wrong with discussing the issue now; people should talk about all aspects of the event, without censorship. Clearly, the journalist in question (Williams) is trying to get in early with his suspect version of events. Why give him free rein at this time and not everyone else? It is right to expose him immediately.


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  • #
    Treeman

    Here is some local knowledge to add to the discussion. It comprises data from my own measurements and information from the BOM watched closely during the flood. A number of my friends and colleagues have been warning about this for years. It is almost a mirror reflection of the 1974 disaster when releases from the Somerset dam hit king tides in Brisbane. For those who are unaware Wyvenhoe is above the Lockyer creek and Bremer River junctions with the Brisbane river. Wyvenhoe Dam has a theoretical 200% capacity with 100% of that for flood mitigation. It was at 140% weeks ago. and was well up to 180% well before the deluge in the Lockyer Valley on Monday. Until that time releases had been at a little more than 50% of the full release capability and this was well communicated in the media. Understand that even moderate release of Wyvenhoe water raises water levels in western suburbs considerably and there is no tidal ebb and flow. Brisbane River is tidal way upstream from Moggill and Bellbourie.

    I started physically measuring the rate of increase of river heights at 2.30 Tuesday here at Jindalee every hour. First measurements were 350mm per hour and from there on it dropped away to around 200mm per hour on Wednesday morning and 50mm per hour Wednesday night. I did this out of interest at first but the data was very helpful to evacuees.

    I understand that the release of water from Wyvenhoe was only increased to full bore on Monday which explains why my observed rate dropped during Tuesday night when release was throttled back. It seems that the full bore release from Wyvenhoe only happened as the buffer approached 100% but well after the Wyvenhoe and Somerset catchments had received over 350mm of rain and timed such that the release impacted the Brisbane river levels at Bellbourie and Moggill at precisely the time high local falls impacted the Brisbane river below Wyvenhoe.

    The rainfall registrations are there for all to see at http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR66D.loop.shtml

    News from Bellbourie suggests that they went under on Monday a full two days before the Bremer peak and well before the water from Lockyer and Bremer had got anywhere near below Wyvenhoe and Riverhills respectively. The Lockyer meets Brisbane river at just a few K’s below the Wyvenhoe spillway and the Bremer meets the Brisbane at Riverhills. By Monday lunchtime there had been falls of up to 600mm in the dam catchments but the big falls happened on Monday and Tuesday in the below dam catchments.

    There are whispers that Bureaucrats were arguing about opening the floodgates to full well before they were eventually opened. I don’t want to even think about why they were arguing. The forecasts were there for all to see in the week leading up to the heavy falls. Greater than 75% likelyhood of rain across most of SEQ as I recall. I was watching it every day as my job revolves around rain.

    Here’s how I see it. Too little released earlier meant that they had to open up full release at the worst possible time. How else to explain the decreasing rates of rise in the river at a time when the natural scheme of things should have seen them increase? They throttled back the release from Wyvenhoe about two days too late. The already half full status of the buffer meant that they had been caught out. My feedback from Colleges crossing was that it was up and down like a yo yo as they opened and closed the floodgates in the days leading up to the flood. Clearly the floodgates should have remained open at risk of a little more increase in river heights and some local flooding.

    One thing stands out to me and that is the graph of BOM Jindalee. It does not reflect my own observations. See for yourself below.
    The graph climbs at the same rate right through the time my observations suggest it should have been tapering off. Could the powers that be have been making decisions based on faulty data? It wouldn’t be the first time! Too little too late and then too much at the wrong time?

    News reports suggest that it takes 36 hours for water releases to reach Brisbane from Wyvenhoe. The flow rate at Jindalee Bridge at the peak was 3 Meters/second or just under 11 km /hr. At that rate it would take 12 -14 hours to reach Bellbourie at the peak flows if the 3M/s applies across the board. If so the Monday flooding of Bellbourie was because of local (below Wyvenhoe) rainfall only but increased flows from releases would have had a major impact.

    Have a look at these graphs of the peak at BOM before they disappear.
    Wyvenhoe wall
    Savages crossing just below Wyvenhoe
    At Mogill
    At Jindalee bridge

    The dips in the graph at Wyvenhoe dam wall are most interesting. I suspect these dips reflect the times when the release was opened up and throttled back. The other graphs all start to spike soon after. Savages crossing is at Fernvale quite close to the dam wall. Linville graph suggests inflows to Wyvenhoe were dropping when they opened up the release to full bore but climbed steeply as it was throttled back.

    The big question is how much difference would it have made if Wyvenhoe buffer had been maintained at much lower level earlier and the release gates closed on Monday instead of opened more in accordance with the design on which the dam was originally built?

    Back in ’74 the stuff up was monumental and very clear. The Somerset dam releases were mistimed to co-incide with king tide surges. This time round with few more variables it is much more difficult to see. I don’t like sawing sawdust but this one is in the interests of a better result next time round and to contribute to the discussion on better mitigation.


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    Treeman

    Jo

    The Toowoomba flood needs to be clarified for readers. I lived in Toowoomba for a decade and the south east market garden precinct was developed into housing estates with no flood mitigation. As the years went by the floods down east creek became worse and worse.

    It should be noted that the Toowooba floods in no way contributed to water into Wyvenhoe. The flooded creek we all saw in Toowoomba central flows west. It was rain on the eastern scarp and local rain below Toowoomba that flooded Withcott. The same rains flooded the Flagstone, Murphy’s, Six mile and Lockyer creeks on Monday afternoon. This water takes a couple of days to reach Brisbane but the Brisbane river was already swollen from local falls and Wyvenhoe Dam releases. It was only by Wednesday that the effect of the flooded Lockyer and Bremer were impacting on Brisbane river heights. Until then Brisbane river flooding was primarily from local rainfall and Wyvenhoe releases and local falls were not great on Saturday and Sunday.


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  • #
    Robuk

    It appears that your govenment have stopped development near the coast because of the none existant sea level rise but allowed development within a flood plain,

    http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/Australianfloods3.jpg
    http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/Ausralianfloodlevels2.jpg


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  • #
    Boiling Frog

    Erin Brokovich- sharpen your litigation pencil-you may make millions.

    Article by Hedley Thomas in today’s Australian says it all.

    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.But the recommendations in the report for radical changes in planning strategy, emergency plans and transparency about the true flood levels for Brisbane were rejected and the report was covered up.The comprehensive 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study made alarming findings about predicted devastation to tens of thousands of flood-prone properties, which were given the green light for residential development since the 1974 flood. The engineers and hydrologists involved in the study warned that the next major flood in Brisbane would be between 1m and 2m higher than anticipated by the Brisbane town plan.The study highlighted how the council had permitted the development of thousands of properties whose owners were led to believe they would be out of harm’s way in a flood on the scale of 1974.
    Read the of the article at this link

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/alarming-report-on-risk

    Anna Bligh, your tears on one of your infinite news conferences
    belong to the large lizards lurking in the floodwaters.


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  • #
    Treeman

    Jo
    The link to Hedley Thomas story is here


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    janama

    Here’s an interesting BoM report on the 1974 flood.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_reports/brisbane_jan1974.pdf

    Here’s an extract that reads like it could have been written about the past few weeks.

    THE FLOOD OF JANUARY 1974
    The Meteorological Situation
    The wet season in tropical Australia is normally not well established until early
    January and the associated northwest monsoonal airflow is usually confined to
    the far northern parts of the continent. However, by mid-December 1973 the
    monsoonal trough was already well established over far northern Australia and
    continued a steady net southward progression during January 1974. This,
    combined with the remarkable strength and persistence of the monsoonal flow,
    resulted in very heavy rains over a large area of Queensland, the Northern
    Territory and adjacent parts of Western Australia, with many places receiving
    record January falls, and some stations exceeding their average annual rainfall
    by the end of January.

    Indeed, the January rainfall map (Fig 4) shows that above average rains occurred
    over most of Australia except for the southern part of Western Australia. In
    Queensland almost every river had been in flood, except the Dumaresq River on
    the southeast border.

    A schematic diagram of the controlling weather systems during the flood is
    shown in Fig 5. The monsoonal trough over Queensland in January 1974 was
    very well developed and located well south of its normal position. This is reflected
    in the pressure anomaly chart (Fig 6). The main rain mechanism responsible
    eventually for the Brisbane Valley floods had its beginning on 21 January as a
    weak low in the monsoonal trough near Willis Island. This system gradually
    deepened and moved southeast to be located about 600 km east of Mackay
    early on 23 January. During that day the low intensified further to become
    cyclone ‘Wanda’ and by late on 23 January it had recurved to a southwesterly
    track and was moving towards the coast.

    ‘Wanda’ crossed the coast near Double Island Point between 6 pm and 9 pm on
    24 January but its central ‘eye’ had not developed sufficiently to produce the
    devastating winds of mature cyclones like the infamous ‘Ada’ and ‘Althea’.
    However, it did produce mean winds of 70 to 80 km/hr south of the centre with
    some squalls up to 100 km/hr. After crossing the coast ‘Wanda’ continued on a
    southwesterly track towards Dalby, but it weakened rapidly and disappeared as a
    feature of the surface chart during Friday 25 January.

    Despite its rapid weakening, ‘Wanda’ played a major part in the generation of the
    floods because, in addition to providing the initial rain that saturated the Brisbane
    River catchment, it forced the monsoonal trough southwards to Brisbane itself.
    Here the trough persisted for several days and small oscillations in its movement
    and intensity resulted in several periods of very intense rainfall. The trough finally
    weakened and retreated northwards during Monday 28 January and a drier, and
    cooler, southern maritime air mass moved in over Brisbane ending the protracted
    rain period.

    The other important weather system shown in Fig 5 is the large anticyclone in the
    Tasman Sea. This high remained almost stationary during the period of the
    floods and effectively stopped the normal eastward progression of weather
    systems across southern Australia, thereby preventing any dry air mass from
    moving in over Queensland and clearing the weather. Thus a moist convergent
    easterly airstream was maintained along the southern Queensland coast
    between the high and the monsoon trough for several days. The high was also
    largely responsible for steering cyclone ‘Wanda’ onto the coast and influenced
    the movement of the monsoon trough. This trough moved steadily southwards
    during 25 and 26 January while the high was weakening, but late on 26 January
    the high regained intensity, effectively halted the southward progression of the
    monsoon trough and eventually forced it well north again.

    in our case the cyclone was Tasha that crossed the coast over xmas.


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    pat

    give thanx for this. those arguing against an inquiry in the comments really amaze me. how can we avoid many future floods, if lessons are not learned?

    14 Jan: Australian: Brisbane flood peak passes, inquiry calls start
    Hedley Thomas and Jamie Walker
    Additional reporting: Sarah Elks, Natasha Bita
    The vast dam is currently at 190 per cent capacity – taking into account its flood mitigation capacity – and over the next week this will be brought down to 100 per cent, requiring the controlled release of 1000 million megalitres into Brisbane River.
    Brisbane Water Grid manager Barry Dennien said this would not cause further flooding.
    comment by “check the drain design”
    Most of the deaths were as a result of the Toowoomba ‘wall of water’. How that occurred needs to be investigated urgently because if it is a problem in stormwater drain design or runoff management it will keep happening. I’ve heard that a number of drains all empty into or close to one place and this was the cause of the sudden 10 foot high surge…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/queensland-floods/brisbane-flood-peak-passes-inquiry-calls-start/story-fn7iwx3v-1225987462450

    funny how Water Grid manager Barry Dennien says the releases will not cause any further flooding, given the following.

    13 December: Brisbane Times: As the heavens open, so do the floodgates
    About 130,000 megalitres of water was released into the upper reaches
    of the Brisbane River in October.
    The release prompted the cancellation of Brisbane ferries and CityCat
    services for several days as the floodwaters sent logs and other debris
    through the river system.
    It also prompted Brisbane City Council to issue flood alerts for local
    creeks and streams.
    Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman last week said he retained the right to
    inform residents if council officers believed there could be flood impacts..
    Brisbane, Ipswich and Somerset councils have been consulted on the decision
    to open the Wivenhoe Dam floodgates.
    Colleges Crossing and Twin Bridges crossing near Karana Downs, and Savages
    Crossing west of Brookfield, are likely to be closed tomorrow afternoon, Mr
    Spiller said.
    Somerset Dam (104.5 per cent capacity) began releasing water into Wivenhoe
    Dam (102.3 per cent) yesterday, after heavy rainfall on the Sunshine Coast.
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/as-the-heavens-open-so-do-the-floodgates-20101213-18ubt.html

    as for the Toowoomba’s “inland tsunami”, any inquiry also needs to look at Cressbrook Creek Dam, which was receiving water from Wivenhoe from October, and went from approx 60% to 128% full when the rains fell on monday 11th january and the “tsunami” ran through the town.
    Cressbrook (which apparently has no spillways) shows on the graph at the top of the following page. after the dam peaked at 128% capacity, there was a sharp downward trend in line with the “tsunami”. capacity went from 128% down to 111% of capacity. Cressbrook is the largest of 3 dams above Toowoomba and has by far the largest capacity. yesterday someone phoned me to say locals are not being allowed up near the dams, as it is said to be dangerous.

    http://www.toowoombarc.qld.gov.au/index.php?option=com_quanta&view=history&record_id=0&category_id=510&Itemid=478


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    Ian Mott

    David Cain#9 and John Watt#19 need to bear in mind that dams that do not have any flood surge capacity have routinely mitigated flood peaks by simply dropping their water level below full capacity just before the flood. The argument that flood volume couldn’t be released on Sat/Sun/Mon is bollocks. The rapid flow in the Lockyer didn’t take place till monday and it still needed a day to get to the confluence of the Wivenhoe flows. By wednesday the Wivenhoe flows were accounting for 80%, ie 8000/10000 m2/sec of lower river flows. This is all very much SEQ Water’s work.

    They all took the weekend off and watched a 1 in 120 year flood event turn a simple task into a crisis they couldn’t deal with by Monday afternoon. All the folks who’s homes and businesses didn’t go under until Wednesday can rest assured that, despite their policies, they are actually fully insured, courtesy of the SEQ Water public liability policy. And if they SEQ Water doesn’t have a policy then the rate payers of the major shareholders, the State Government, Brisbane City Council, Ipswich Council and a number of others who are not anywhere near the flood zone, will eventually foot the entire bill. The meter is already ticking on the class action.


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    Treeman

    Jo

    I’m duty bound to correct Pat@26.
    Cressbrook and Perseverance dams are not “above” Toowoomba, they are below the city and water has to be pumped from them to Toowoomba.

    The Toowoomba “tsunami” will have had no effect on Cresbrook whatsoever as that water all flowed west. Water from from Lockyer, Murphy’s and Flagstone creeks all flowed into Brisbane below Wyvenhoe.

    Cressbrook and Perseverance have limited local catchments from the escarpment north east of Toowoomba and Cressbrook dam overflows into the Brisbane river above Wyvenhoe. Water released from Cressbrook will have impacted on Wyvenhoe

    Barry Dennien is correct when he says there will be no further flooding if there is only one gate open at Wyvenhoe spillway. Most of the water flowing now is what is being released and at 25% of what can be released.

    The article in Brisbane Times has limited credibility stating that “the floodgates will be open for the second time in the last six weeks”. We all know they have been open and closed to varying degrees in that time.

    People should be wary of all information including mine, it is after all only from my own observations!


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    Neville

    This is the best info I’ve seen on past floods at Brisbane and Ipswich.
    You’ll notice that the 1893 flood was really 3 floods and there was a period from 1887 to 1898 that had 5 major floods, so much for this flood being exceptional and caused by AGW.

    Remember that the huge 1841 flood and for the next 50 years or more occured during a time of more natural flood plains.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml


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    Bulldust

    Not sure if it has been cross-posted before, but you should all look at Kevin Trenberth’s pre-posted speech for the AMS:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/13/trenberths-upcoming-ams-meeting-talk-climategate-thoughts/

    I don’t even know where to start… it is outrageous beyond belief. He is also very fond of the “denier” tag. There is classic stuff in ther, such as this gem:

    “Even if temperatures or sea surface temperatures are below normal, they are still higher than they would have been…”

    He claims we deniers misinterpretted his climategate emails (which we didn’t, but anywho…), but you can file this comment straight under “when the data doesn’t support me, I am still right.” This from a supposed scientist?

    This guy is spinning so fast he could probably start a hurricane or two all by himself.


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    A C

    After reading so much about the UK Met Office and its secret dealings, I’m wondering what BOM’s role in all this was. Have they been advising that there is a low expectation of rain this year and so Qld has been filling up its reservoirs in expectations of more drought years ahead? Have they been sufficiently respectful of what a La Nina event might entail and suggesting the dams be kept empty? I’m afraid I’ve become so suspicious of BOM that I automatically assume the worst.


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    KR

    My sympathies to all those affected. I’ve seen the effects of major flooding (mostly due to dam collapses in my area, though), and it’s truly horrible.

    My best wishes for your health and well-being.


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    Olaf Koenders

    It appears there’s more to the floods than La Nina. Andrew Bolt seems to have hit it on the head:

    Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett on Wednesday said he made the interim decision to reject the controversial $1.8 billion plan to dam the Mary River because evidence showed it could kill off endangered species…

    “The project would have serious and irreversible effects on national listed species such as the Australian lungfish, the Mary River turtle and the Mary River cod – both of those endangered.

    York should try telling the Victorian Labor party that Leftists like dams.

    Here’s the Bracks Government’s excuse for not building a dam in Victoria:

    All remaining “water (is) currently used by the rivers”

    Here is the revised excuse of the Brumby Government:

    Look at its latest excuse for not building the dam that would have spared Melbourne its insane – and insanely expensive – water restrictions.

    “Why aren’t we building another dam?” it burbles, shamed at last into defending its Labor masters’ failure to build what we needed years ago.

    ”Unfortunately, we cannot rely on this kind of rainfall like we used to.”

    Result? Labor banned a proposed dam on the Mitchell River, turning the dam reservation there into a national park.

    The Mitchell promptly flooded (in 2007), washing through Bairnsdale and sending more water to waste in the sea than Melbourne uses in a year.

    Instead of a building a huge dam for $1.4 billion, the Government instead commissioned a desalination plant for $5.7 billion, even though it would produce just a third of the water.

    The green movement should be held directly accountable for flood and drought damage for pushing against further water catchments in a growing population. Likewise, here in Victoria they should be held accountable for brownouts that may occur if 1/4 of Hazelwood power station is shut down because of their mindless panic regarding coal. Not forgetting they don’t have any plans in the works to replace the lost power since greenies tend to find ways against infrastructure of any kind, such as nuclear. Remember the “Stop Uranium Mining” campaign of some decades ago? Yeh.. just mining yellowcake for a noble purpose sees greenies in coniptics, let alone using it to throw on an opposing country.

    Notably, they want everyone to use wind and solar power, however, their first act of “business” in this area was to desperately seek out a supposedly endangered species of cute and fluffy animal (orange-bellied parrot) they said could get chopped up in the spinning blades. How long will it be before the green movement opposes solar farms due to their fixation on natural habitat?

    There’s a solution though. Find a remote location they can enjoy among their beloved biodiversity and dig some caves for them to live – and die in. I’ll be generous and give them each a candle to warm themselves since campfires belch CO2, which is catastrophic, apparently.

    I WAS going to complain about the endless and inane coverage of the QLD floods, to whom the victims my heart goes out to. Reporters who are only used to giving concise 20-second reports are now obligated to stand there for 10 full minutes desperately trying to convey the situation. Asking stupid questions (“What was it like?”) and getting obvious answers (“Awful, mate.”), then lapsing into talking about certain buildings, their architecture and what “might” (obviously) happen if the water level rises to some pre-determined level, complete with computer simulated renderings..

    ..but I got sidetracked.


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    Brian G Valentine

    Prayers and wishes of hope are sent by my friends in Abu Dhabi to Brisbane. Abu Dhabi is one of seven Sister Cities of Brisbane, five are in the Orient and one in NZ


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    Olaf Koenders

    David R @ 21:

    You should really have a good read of this:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/are_these_floods_really_just_a_warmists_event

    Show me all great and knowing one – in the rainfall chart exactly where can you see the “obvious” effects of your dear AGW theory on rainfall, pretty please?


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    PeterS

    What a terrible flood. So, in a few months when all of this is past us, and we have rebuilt the houses destroyed, and continue to build more houses in low lying areas, then in say 30 years there’s another flood of similar proportions, and there’s a similar if not greater disaster due to a higher population, who should get the blame, if anyone? Certainly can’t blame it on AGW since these floods have occurred many times before, some of which were larger. Just curious.


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    B.Brown

    the flow rates and the timing of wivenhoe dam releases recorded in quality interent articles should have been ringing alarms bells about the usual weekend short staffing of flood mitigation offices that set the gated release of buffer waters in the dams. By the Monday before the flood it was too late to fix the previous weeks and the weekend’s release problems. If the Lord mayor announced before Christmas he had canceled his holidays to handle the possible flood crisis why was the timing of huge releases from wivenhoe left till a few days before the weekend of the 9th January weather caught them with no options but to block out the bremer and Lockyer flows and then compound that delayed effect with large outflows from wivenhoe that were too much too late for the brisbane river to swallow. Why is the simple logic that whats goes in must come out so hard for water hoarding authorities to manage. Double dump rainfall patterns have hit Brisbane and surrounds for centuries. So minimizing as soon a possible not maximising the water in the wivenhoe buffer has to be the priority no matter what amount of money the buffer might earn at some future date or the cost of full staffing on critical weekends. The release pattern from wivenhoe appears to be days out of step with the rainfall amounts and distribution It almost supports the idea that false data at downstream stations or key staff having the weekend off would explain much of the shock horror of Monday morning decisions
    to flood the CBD and abandon ship.. Wivenhoe flooded Brisbane did it have to ?? a lot of data may be “lost” between now and when they decide to absolve everybody.


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    Treeman

    DavidR@21

    You’re right about one thing. Wyvenhoe was at 105% on January 7. But it was at 101.9 on January 4, 102.9 on January 6 and by January 10 it had crept up to 144.3. Conveniently there is no data shown at SEQ Water for January 8 or January 9 which are precisely the days when SEQ Water should have been releasing water at full bore! Not surprisingly these days were Saturday and Sunday when bureaucrats were fiddling, dam was rapidly filling and no-one could decide whether to open all the floodgates. By Friday night they would have known that the rate of increase was alarming. The dam level would have been over 130% by Saturday. It takes 36 hours for the flood release to get to Brisbane CBD. For the sake of more than minor flooding the gates could have been fully opened on Friday and closed on Sunday as the impacts of local heavy falls were starting to be seen in the river. This is what were told the Wyvenhoe was all about.

    This is no attack on the Wivenhoe it is called holding the duck shovers to account for a disaster, the severity of which may well have been avoidable.

    You mention 1917. What flood are you talking about? Nothing here. I’m not sure if anyone even knew about El Niño back in 1917 so there would be no records of the SOI per se. The coral reconstructions only go back to 1965!


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    DavidR

    Olaf,
    You should check the BOM site that shows that a large proportion of Queensland has just had the wettest year and the the wettest December on record, and nearly all of Queenslandit was in the top 10% of all records.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/rain/index.jsp?colour=colour&time=latest&step=0&map=decile&period=month&area=qd

    As the AGW theorists said, and Andrew Bolt misquoted, fewer rain events but more extreme ones.


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    Brian G Valentine

    Bull at 34:

    Doesn’t that just gag you? Too bad they can’t vote to let Trenberth in the door before he gets there. Excepting for Heidi Cullen, I can’t think of a soul who would vote to let him in.

    He’s gone from bad to worse, but I have figured out where some of the problem lies. It’s places like UCAR where he works – there’s no management or control over what he does. He just says and does whatever he likes and answers to none for it.

    At the GISS, Hansen IS the management. If the management can’t set a tone or example, there’s nothing for others to emulate. It’s anything goes, do whatever you want, say whatever you want, no one bother you or make you prove anything you say.

    It’s junior high schools administered by junior-high delinquents, and the taxpayer gets stuck paying the bill for this free-for-all


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    rukidding

    I think it is time us Australians said enough is enough.
    We have been listening to the hippies for long enough and
    what have they wrought nothing but death and destruction.They
    are a health hazard.
    They tell us that we must mitigate and adapt for climate change
    but as soon as we try they tell us we are raping the earth.
    We are not allowed to reduce the fuel build up in our forest so
    people die from bushfires.We are not allowed to build levies or
    dams so people die from floods.
    We are not allowed to prune our trees so people die in storms.
    So to quote the statement from the Bali conference.
    “If you won’t help get out of the way”.
    How many more people have to die for this green madness.


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    rukidding

    Oh just remembered I saw somewhere the other day someone
    saying one of the reasons that the rain has been so heavy
    and so prelonged is that QLD has not had the cyclones this
    year to sweep the rain fronts out to sea.Anyone care to
    comment on this.


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    Craigo

    I have only really scanned all the comments and will add my tuppence worth. In my opinion, this article rushes to judge and point blame at people who were doing their best with the information available at the time. I believe you do them a dis-service. There is so much inaccuracy and lack of understanding that armchair experts are falling over themselves with spurious claims and conspiracy theories, secret documents and the like. What utter rubbish. I bought my iron rations in December when they were predicting a La Nina rainy season with increased possibilities of cyclones.

    I live in Moggill, about 300m from the banks of the Brisbane river and have witnessed the devastation over the last few days but one thing stands out. 1893. Then another. 1974. Go back and look at the records. Look at where the rain fell. Look at whether mitigation means prevention. Get some facts, have a look at the Bremmer, Lockyer Creek, Warril Creek, all below Wivenhoe then look at how much water didn’t arrive and see how much difference it made. Get your heads around the fact that Somerset is exceeding it’s rated flood storage capacity and that Wivenhoe can hold more water (up to level 80m on the wave wall) but you need to understand fuse gates, tipping buckets and consequential uncontrolled discharge. Unless you understand the technicalities and consequences of dam management, don’t begin to criticize. I think they achieved the best outcome under the circumstances. Then add in the weather forcast of continuing rain which didn’t eventuate. Of course, the armchair experts will say you could have done better and I am sure with hind sight, it is possible. But right now, we have little loss of life in Brisbane and Ipswich and a bit of mud and stuff to clean up. We have cities built on flood plains and have the arrogance to claim we can control the rivers. That is more in keeping with those who claim they can control the weather by reducing CO2. Ironic isn’t it?

    This can and probably will happen again.


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    manalive

    Re: DavidR (43),

    Obama’s White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gained notoriety for declaring his credo: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” In other words, when there is tragedy and suffering, intense human pain and disaster, a political expert enjoys a unique opportunity to push the least popular parts of his agenda past a distracted electorate.

    Can you explain how specifically anthropogenic climate forcing causes “fewer rain events but more extreme ones” as opposed to the many other factors at play in such a complex, chaotic system as the Earth’s climate?


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    Treeman

    rukidding@45….you reminded me of this when you wrote enough is enough! Get the didge going!

    Just now the drought has broke
    Great for bloodwood and desert oak
    Murray runs brown
    Dams are brimming
    And we were told
    There’d be no more swimming
    The time has come
    to say fair’s fair
    Climate change is all hot air

    Big rains bring back pelicans
    From Cape York to inland lakes
    The time has come
    to say fair’s fair
    Climate change is all hot air
    The time has come
    A fact’s a fact
    Flim Flam lied
    Give his gong back
    How can he sing while the earth is cooling?
    How can he sleep while his arse is burning

    Evidence say’s
    Al Gore was wrong
    With snout in trough
    He got a gong
    The time has come
    A fact’s a fact
    Al Gore lied
    And should give it back
    How can he sing while the earth is cooling?
    How can he sleep while his arse is burning

    Half a Penny Wong
    She tried to scare
    The waters are rising
    We should all prepare
    The time has come
    A fact’s a fact
    The only waters rising
    Were her affair
    The time has come
    A fact’s a fact
    The whole bloody thing was a lousy act
    How can they sing while the earth is cooling?
    How can they sleep with their arses burning

    no apology to Midnight Air


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    Brian G Valentine

    Yeah, I can explain it Manalive: It’s whatever you want. If it sounds like the last few months of weather, that’s what it is. It’s conclusive proof. It’s all predicted by computer models and so forth, and the audience for all of this is taken to be as dumb and gullible as the people who put it out there.


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    Treeman

    David R @43
    Fewer rain events but more extreme ones? Not here!

    Want to see extreme? Look here

    We’ve had extreme since early settlers started taking records and the proxy records all reinforce that.


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    pat

    Treeman -
    thanx for the corrections. i am grateful.
    the tv coverage has explained so little. hope u will add more to this debate.


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    pat

    Treeman -
    meant to include the Australian’s Andrew Fraser link which seems to be outlining an official version of what happened in toowoomba. would u kindly critique it. keep in mind Fraser has also worked as a journalist in the Canberra press gallery and as senior adviser to the deputy premier of Queensland:

    12 Jan: Australian: Senior writer, Andrew Fraser: Toowoomba copped wrath of La Nina
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/queensland-floods/toowoomba-copped-wrath-of-la-nina/story-fn7iwx3v-1225985875512


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    Treeman

    Thank you Pat

    Andrew Fraser is being mischievous in suggesting

    …some of the water that hit the northern part of Toowoomba flowed over the range and down Murphy’s Creek, which was one of the worst-hit spots. This water flowed into Lockyer Creek, then hit Grantham and Gatton.

    Toowoomba sits on the escarpment and most of its built form is west of the scarp. Some houses are built on the eastern slope and runoff from them will flow east. There is a northern spur that runs east called Prince Henry Drive and runoff from the south slope will end up in Withcott. Runoff from the north facing slope ends up in Murphy’s creek. There are blocks in the south east that drain into the Flagstone creek catchment. It is wrong to suggest that any part of the Toowoomba flood ended up in the Lockyer valley. He also suggests that water from Monday’s floods

    were the foundations of the flood that hit Ipswich yesterday ( Tuesday 11th the article published on January 12)

    This statement suggests it only took 24 hours for the flood waters to reach Ipswich. This is patently untrue. He is correct to qualify that with

    this situation was exacerbated by rainfall of more than 200mm in the Lockyer Valley yesterday.

    but I suggest he’s stretching the truth with that as well. The early rise in the Bremer was from local falls around and upstream from Ipswich on Monday, the same day Toowoomba and the Lockyer valley got the deluge. More rain fell on Tuesday in the Lockyer but irrespective, it takes almost three days for a Lockyer flood to reach the Brisbane below Wyvenhoe hence the peak in the Brisbane river on Wednesday reinforced by the floodwaters from the upper Bremer which take roughly the same time to get to Brisbane as far as I can tell. Furthermore the Lockyer runs into the Brisbane below Wyvenhoe and it is the Fassifern Valley that feeds into the Bremer not the Lockyer Valley so he is wrong again.


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    [...] were managed in a way that actually produced the kind of flood it was designed to prevent…" Brisbane?s Man-made Flood Peak? « JoNova "…there needed to be a thorough questioning of whether the decision to store as much [...]


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    Treeman

    Jo

    I’m pretty much done with commenting on this thread. The impact of the flash flood in an area where I spent almost two decades is very sobering. While little could have been done to prevent the floods in the Lockyer, much more could have been done to mitigate what has happened in Brisbane and a lot can be done to improve communicating what actually happened and how we can help to prevent it happening in the future. Australia was settled 200 years ago and whole towns were built in what we now know are flood plains and flood prone areas. That we have had four major floods since 1840 and continue to build in these areas beggars belief. It’s hard and seems pointless sawing sawdust and I’ve copped it from a few for daring to criticise. Tomorrow I’ll go and help with the cleanup.


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    Siliggy

    Treeman:
    “no apology to Midnight Air”
    That would be midnight solar.


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    JPA Knowles

    Neville at 33 points out that…

    the 1893 flood was really 3 floods

    Indeed, some of the previous floods have come as a series of rainfall events close together. Is Brisbane prepared for another bout of the same weather in a fortnight’s time? The same warm ocean is off the coast and we are in the same slowly moving pressure cell pattern which brings prolonged onshore winds. The soil is now so thoroughly saturated that it would take little to create another problem.
    I trust Wivenhoe will be discharging significantly next week to restore its mitigation capacity.


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    J.Hansford

    The Wyvenhoe was built for one major purpose after the 1974 flood… To mitigate the flooding of Brisbane during future flood events. Brisbane is after all, built on a Flood plain.

    Now, due to either incompetence or criminal negligence, that task was not performed as it should have been… There was no reason for the Wyvenhoe to be at or above 100% capacity so early in the Queensland Wet Season. Because of this “oversight”, Brisbane was Flooded.

    People have died in Ipswich and Brisbane, property has been ruined and livelihoods lost…. An investigation must be held.


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    John Brookes

    Did you see that bloke who’s new house was ok? The water came to within a few centimetres of his floor boards (for those of you who don’t know, a lot of Queensland houses are built on stilts). He explained how the local council rejected his initial plans, insisting that he raise the level by 30cm. Good work by the council eh?


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    bananabender

    Brisbane is very hilly so there is absolutely no need for any buildings to ever be flood-affected.

    There is ample elevated land to build upon. In many places you only need to move 100m from the river and you are high and dry.

    However no lasting lesson has ever been learned despite at least 10 major floods and dozens of minor floods.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml


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    Mervyn Sullivan

    Day before yesterday, I was appalled to see an interview of Professor David Karoly on ABC TV, in relation to the floods, and in which he linked the floods to increasing global warming greenhouse gases and the need, therefore, to reduce CO2 emissions.

    With his illogical reasoning, how does this professor explain the 1974 floods, or the great floods of 1893? Man-made global warming? Most Aussies would acknowledge that these disasters have happened for hundreds of thousands of years and have had nothing to do with man or the burning of fossil fuels.

    Professor Karoly was introduced as a Professor of Climatology at the University of Melbourne and IPCC author. Well all I can say is God help his students, if this is the sort of rubbish he is teaching his students!


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    Mick

    Mr Aron Gingis, former Monash University Hydrologist, warned SEQ Water early on to release much more water from Wivenhoe Dam to avoid disaster.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/queensland-floods/flood-crisis-spreads-to-five-states/story-fn7iwx3v-1225988077729


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    John Brookes

    Mervyn Sullivan@62, I think David Karoly was just pointing out that global warming means warmer sea surface temperatures, which means a more moist energetic atmosphere – so you can get more rain. This current flood would probably have been considerably worse than 1974, if not for the Wyvenhoe dam.

    But its a one-off event. It might have been exacerbated by global warming, or it could just be plain bad luck. Either way, there is a hell of a lot of work to be done in Queensland now.


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    Roy Hogue

    DavidR @21, John Brookes and anyone else claiming AGW done it:

    Let’s all just blame a convenient event on your theory du jour so you can make some points for your cause. Of course you have no idea in this world what you’re talking about. But by all means don’t let that bother you.

    Go back and read Brian Valentine at post 1 and then just shut up! Playing politics with this is despicable.

    ——–

    News reports here don’t do justice to the full magnitude of the disaster. All I can offer are my prayers and good wishes for a speedy end of the flooding and full restoration of what has been lost.


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    pat

    Treeman -
    realise u r finished with this thread, but thanx for the critique.
    i should say my toowoomba contact explained she never said the dams were “above” toowoomba. i inserted that based on a post i saw elsewhere suggesting that’s where they were.
    my friend is not online and simply wanted me to find out what i could as questions are being asked in toowoomba about what really caused the “tsunami”.


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    pat

    my final word on this thread:

    i hear everyone talk of wivenhoe having approx. 100% water supply capacity and 100% flood mitigation capacity.
    my point is no-one is using the 100% water capacity, as the high price of water means people are economising on water as much as possible. wivenhoe contains far too much water for current usage.
    people i talk to have been saying for more than a year that what is called water supply capacity is unnecessarily high.

    is it wrong to believe that if water supply capacity had been kept below 60%, wivenhoe would have been able to accommodate the flood rains when they came?

    for those of us who do not want to see the same mistakes made over and over, we need clear answers that we can understand.


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    RobJM

    This flood was twice the size of the 74floods but the flood peak was 1m lower. Sounds like the stated aim of lowering the flood peak by 2m was met.
    Sure it could have been done better but how can you predict whether it will dump 100mm or 300mm and release water early. What they need is to raise the minor flood level 1m so they can release a greater volume of water earlier without causing damage. The key is to change the town planning.


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    Treeman

    Pat
    In answer to your #66

    I moved to Toowoomba in 1978 and lived at Middle Ridge. At this time the south west corner was largely undeveloped.

    East creek had few of the embellishment it has now. It was for the most part a gully interspersed with marshy areas from Alderley street south. During the next two decades hundreds of acres of mixed farmland was cut up into small lots and it was covered with houses with no rainwater roof runoff infiltration, not that this methodology would help a lot in the red clay/soils of Toowoomba. The infiltration that the farmland and marshes afforded to storms like we saw last week has been completely lost as roads and roofs now concentrate the water into storm water drains that (as I understand it) feed directly into East Creek which has been turned into a series of ponds and drains. There is after all nowhere else for it to go.

    As these developments proceeded, my group of largely landscapers and architects expressed concern that they (the developments) were concentrating runoff into the city which is the lowest point for water sheeting south. In fact a number of smaller storms since the early eighties have seen flooding in the city.

    In answer to your last post.

    It is absolutely not wrong to believe that if water supply capacity had been kept below 60%, wivenhoe would have been able to accommodate the flood rains when they came. The point we are making is that even at 100% on 7th January, the floodgates fully open over the weekend would have extended the inconvenience, maybe even flooded a few homes but would have enabled at least some closing of the gates on Monday afternoon instead of fully opening them.


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    Craig Goodrich

    Like everyone else here, I send my sympathy and best wishes to the flood victims of Brisbane. Perhaps they might find some solace and holiday cheer in the year-old video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmPSUMBrJoI .


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    pat

    Treeman -
    many thanx for your last post. it has helped a lot.

    for u and those who best understand the situation, this info might be of some use:

    14 Jan: Ipswich Times: Josephine Gillespie: Our river’s incredible surge
    THE Bremer River peaked below its expected level of 20.5 metres at the height of the flood, hitting 19.35m.
    The Bureau of Meteorology said the river peaked at 5.05pm Wednesday before falling back to 19.30m by 5.44pm and, like Wivenhoe Dam, it has continued to drop.
    Seqwater Grid chief executive Barry Dennien said the dam was currently at 187 per cent and was gradually dropping with controlled releases through all five gates, of 215,000 megalitres per day.
    This is down from the peak of 645,000 megalitres earlier in the week.
    “The dam’s slow recession is due in part to inflows of 121,000 megalitres per day via a sluice gate from Somerset Dam,” Mr Dennien said. “Somerset is at 174 per cent.”
    After the expected downstream peak in the lower Brisbane River has passed, releases will be increased to 301,000 megalitres per day.
    Mr Dennien said the increase was unlikely to cause a second significant rise in the river and was necessary in order to relieve Wivenhoe Dam’s swollen flood storage compartment in order to create space for further rainfall and inflows, should they occur.
    “All releases are being made in consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology and local councils and every effort is being made to limit downstream impacts where possible,” he said. “Due to a combination of Lockyer Creek, local runoff and Wivenhoe releases, Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge Colleges Crossing, Fernvale Bridge, and Mt Crosby Weir Bridge may be inundated until at least Sunday.”
    http://www.qt.com.au/story/2011/01/14/ipswich-our-rivers-incredible-surge-floods/


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    pat

    Treeman -

    p.s. allowing the water supply part of wivenhoe to fill has been a very hot topic of conversation in this area of SE Qld for 12-18 months. particularly the older people i know kept saying why are they doing this, especially as we weren’t allowed to use the water and could not afford it if we were.
    am not sure people understood the flood mitigation portion was separate (and i still don’t understand if it is separate areas of wivenhoe) but i was constantly hearing that brisbane would flood if they didn’t bring down the levels.


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    Mark D.

    It isn’t a stretch to imagine that a flood is useful to make a political climate point.

    So how much further do you have to stretch to imagine that the people wanting to make said political climate point also have control the water?

    Regardless if the above notion is silly or not, the people wanting to make those points are doing so


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    brc

    Olaf Koenders:
    January 14th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Andrew Bolt is on the money sometimes, and miles off in others. In his push for more Dams (a good idea) he is commenting on the Traveston crossing Dam, as if that would have somehow saved Gympie. For a start, the Traveston crossing was to be on the Mary river, and would have had no impact on the Brisbane/Bremer river systems. For a second, it was to be designed as water storage dam, not a flood mitigation dam. As such it would have been 100% full prior to the rain event which caused all the flooding. For a third, the site chosen for the Dam had major problems when it came to floods because it is a flat plain, and floodwaters would start to spill out all ove the place instaed of a centrally located spillway. And finally, it was the people of Gympie itself who campaigned the hardest to stop the Dam, not the meddling Greenies in Canberra (though they’re happy to try and claim credit).

    Traveston Crossing would not have been completed in time for the floods, would not have affected the flood levels if it was. It’s time for Andrew Bolt to clarify these points before some idiotic government thinks it’s a good project to start up again.

    As for those wanting to point the finger at SEQ Water – I think they did a pretty good job given the circumstances. Rainfall and flood prediction is not an exact science, and they were doing all they could to keep the flooding below the minor level until the amount of water overwhelmed every single river system, whether dammed or not.

    The only good that can possibly come of this is a national sweeping away of the idiotic no-dams policies of the last 20-30 years.

    The worst thing will be a rehabilitation of Anna Blighs disastrous opinion poll rating. She will be devious enough to try an early election based on a couple of days of news conferences in Brisbane. To be fair, she made Gillard look ridiculous and inept, but then that’s hardly a difficult task.


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    Warren

    Actually,brc,Traveston had a flood reserve in the first stage design that performed pretty well during hydrographic modelling in taking some metres of four past floods of notable size. Gympie is on the Mary,that’s why Bolt refers to Traveston. IMHO,the project was not good enough.

    However,I agree with you that Bolt’s adversariality is often ill-informed,and I’d add he cannot resist exaggerating his claims. He’s spent years doggedly insisting a dam on the Mitchell River would yield much more than detailed studies advise,by claiming out-of-date maximum yield estimates for the total river and catchment can be extrapolated into one lower mid-basin dam’s realistic yield. The real world does not work that way.


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    Bob Malloy

    Baa Humbug:

    I grabbed this from WUWT,

    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] :)

    I’m glad the swim was pleasant. Wishing you and all the others effected all the best.


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    Baa Humbug

    Bob Malloy:
    January 15th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Thankx Bob. We’re fine. Very very lucky, unlike thousands of others.

    The only prob I had was when I decided to float the horses to friends places. My old mate
    Zac (a 36yr old Thoroughbred) decided he didn’t want to leave, played up in the float and fell over, causing a large gash in his leg. My daughter (who you see in my avatar)is nursing him now.

    Only cleaning up left to do. Nowhere near as bad as the poor buggers you see on TV. I’m taking it easy and relaxing by blogging and lots of cold beer :)


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    [...] Au départ, ils sont venus du  blog Regionalstates, et ont été repris et développés par Jo Nova, avec des contributions significatives des commentaires de ses lecteurs -ce qui démontre une fois [...]


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    Dave

    Great page. Love all the comments, especially Treeman.

    It sounds like Treeman has a good grasp on many of the arguments carried here. His comments and thoughts could be well utilised in an enquiry.

    Good stuff.


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    Olaf Koenders

    BRC @ 74:

    As for those wanting to point the finger at SEQ Water – I think they did a pretty good job given the circumstances. Rainfall and flood prediction is not an exact science, and they were doing all they could to keep the flooding below the minor level until the amount of water overwhelmed every single river system, whether dammed or not.

    I tend to agree with this, considering BOM had no idea that heavy rains were on the way for a timely warning and, they never considered anything else except AGW and drought. Shows how they don’t care to look back in the past.

    As for SEQ Water, they also had no idea that the rains would return with a vengeance. I could imagine the public and political outcry had SEQ Water maintained a minimal water level to ensure sufficient flood buffering, considering BOM, most of ill-informed politics and general public ideology didn’t care to look elsewhere except silly AGW theory and continuing drought.

    I’ve always maintained that we should make hay (dams) while the sun shines. It’s especially important in a drought-prone and growing country. Although many silly greenies and CAGWists tend to say it’s a waste as there’s no rain to fill them, hopefully they all have mud on their faces now as they will surely continue to be wrong in the future.


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    Treeman

    Olaf@79
    You are way too kind to both BOM and SEQ Water

    BOM warned about the rains well in advance. Weatherzone has a 28 day outlook. BOM site links directly to Weatherzone. I watch it every day for work. It has been mostly dark green (High 74% or greater chance of rain in the area) since well before Christmas.

    but you are absolutely right about the dams. Greenies and warmistas flock to anti dam protests like lemmings. Here is where you will find most of them!


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    Treeman

    BOM have more reason to be alert than ever before. NASA also have a weekly ENSO update and Monthly Climate Diagnostics bulletin.

    No-one can make excuses for SEQ Water or BOM. They must surely have information at least as good as mine. The mayor of Brisbane Campbell Newman warned about it way back in October.

    Anyway that’s it for me for a bit. Off to crank up my water jet in a cleanup.


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    Baa Humbug:
    January 15th, 2011 at 7:06 pm #77

    Hey buddy! Glad to hear you kept your head above water.

    Thoroughbreds can sure be stubborn at times. Several years ago mine was so insistent on not getting in the trailer that he reared at the top of the ramp and knocked himself out. He fell in such a heap we were afraid he might have broken his neck. After about five minutes he got up and shook himself off and consented to entering the trailer without further ado. On the plus side, he’s never done it again. :)


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    RobJM

    Jo,
    I’ve been thinking about the nature of “Safe” release levels and the danger posed by flash flooding. What would have happened if wivenhoe had released 300,000ml/day and a Toowoomba like flash flooding event had hit brisbane as it went past. I’m guessing the high river levels would impede drainage and potentially increase loss of life dramatically.
    Since there is now way to predict where flash flooding will occur 36hours out then it quite possible that the water authorities had their hands tied while their was a high risk of flash flooding. Heavy rain exceeding 100mm had occurred every day since the 7th of jan so the safe release volume leading up the the peak floods may have been significantly lower than the 300,000ML they can release when its not raining heavily.

    Another issue is that preemptive releases that cause minor flooding need to be notified in advance so that farmers who utilise river flats have time to move stock/equipment. Flood levels upstream may be significantly lower than those for brisbane.


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    David Williams

    Those arguing that SEQ Water should have been releasing water from the dam before this flood event when the dam was at 100% FSL need to rethink their position. Had SEQ Water taken this approach during previous times when the dam was at 100% would have lead to Brisbane completely running out of water during the previous drought conditions of the past decade. Whilst we are in the grip of a strong La-nina which is causing increased rainfall there is no gaurantee these conditions will continue into the future.

    It takes no more than 5-6 years for the dam to empty from 100% to less than 20% during times of lower rainfall. The first 100% of capacity in the dam is sotrage capacity that was and is sorely needed. The additional capacity up to 225% is flod mitigation which was very well utilized in this event.

    Do some thorough research on water release guidelines, flood levels for all the rivers involved for this and previous events and rainfall levels in the catchment for this and previous events before shooting your mouth off.

    Its all too easy to criticize without fully checking your facts. For my mind the guys at SEQ Water did an awesome job at mitigating the potential damage caused by the conditions over the past week and I’m absolutely disgusted and sickened by criticism of them.

    And for the record, our water supply running dry has far more serious ramifications for SE QLD than a repeat of 1974 floods.


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    amortiser

    Does anybody know if the Wivenhoe dam is used for hydro generation as well as flood mitigation? [I can't be donkeyed to look it up myself].

    If it is, then the situation gets a lot more complicated because of the need to balance electrical network load as well as balance the upstream and downstream water flow rates.

    Wivenhoe has a hydro generator at Splityard Creek. Water is pumped up to the hydro dam at night and released during the day adding power to the grid.

    I’m not sure whether it was operating when the dam fell to very low levels.


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    Charles Worringham

    Treeman’s analyses are most valuable and suggest we need to thoroughly assess the management of the dams as one part of the follow-up to the floods. I hate to think what would have happened if we’d had one or two more days of drenching rain last week and they’d over-topped. It looks as if SEQ leave Saturday and Sunday data points off all their dam level plots – all relevant data should be put on the table as soon as possible to inform the inevitable enquiries.

    It’s odd that so many comments here take such a strident anti-AGW position (e.g. Mervyn Sullivan, January 14th, 2011 at 11:35 pm). Just because there is significant natural rainfall variability, a La Nina in full swing, and a history of major floods, it doesn’t follow that last week’s rain was not influenced by warming – it MAY have made it more intense than it would have been otherwise… we just don’t know for any single event. More importantly, when the major summer rainfall events are predicted to become more intense over Eastern Australia precisely because of global warming, it seems irresponsible to be so dismissive. Surely we should be looking at ALL sensible mitigation efforts, ranging from improved engineering, management and planning in our catchment, to curtailing the increase in greenhouse gases. These are not mutually exclusive, and it would be foolish to invest billions in local mitigation efforts around the country while continuing to pump out ever increasing quantities of greenhouse gases ourselves, and hugely ramping up our fossil fuel exports.


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    bananabender

    Wivenhoe Dam was never intended to stop flooding – merely to reduce the most damaging effects.

    The size of the Wivenhoe catchment (7000km2) means that it takes only 300mm of rain to go from empty to flooding. Keeping levels below 100% is no protection against flooding

    The 1974 BoM report on the Brisbane floods was very clear that there was no feasible option to prevent flooding in Brisbane. This report also predicted that the (planned) Wivenhoe Dam would have to release water in the middle of heavy flooding.


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    Treeman

    Charles Worringham@89
    Thank you and I agree that we went within a heavy shower of uncontrolled overflow from Wyvenhoe.

    I can’t agree with you linking the recent deluge with warming. The temperatures in Australia have nothing whatsoever to do with the rainfall we are experiencing and everything to do with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) calculated from the monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin. This graph suggests that warming had little to do with last weeks big rains. Three comparable events back to 1900 and at least ten severe events in the same time. The graph takes no account of 1893 and 1840 both of which were extreme and both well before (supposed) carbon induced warming. Blaming global warming on this is a complete copout.

    Bananabender@90

    Where were you when Wyvenhoe was built? It was widely touted as the one thing that would prevent a 1974 flood from ever happening again. I’d be delighted if you would provide quotes to back up your specific (1974 BOM report) claims. Bear in mind in 1974 Wyvenhoe was not built and this report does not address the issue of the mistimed release from Somerset Dam in 1974. Rather it takes great pains to spell out the limitations of BOM flood forecasting and to tick off on virtually every state and local government activity prior during and after the 1974 floods..

    This quote from the report suggests that Wyvenhoe was built precisely for flood mitigation.

    There are some small, fixed crest dams (e.g. Moogerah Dam and Enoggera Reservoir) in the Brisbane Valley that automatically mitigate floods to a small degree. However, the major mitigation of flooding is achieved by Somerset Dam, which has high capacity sluice and crest gates. A dam for a similar purpose, but with a larger capacity, is proposed at Wivenhoe for completion in about 1981.

    The report goes on to say

    In situations where the major flood contribution occurs in catchments below Somerset Dam and the proposed Wivenhoe Dam, there are considerable problems in deciding when to empty the flood storage. If floodwaters were retained by the dam for too long not only would there be major and prolonged flooding upstream from the storage but the dam would become virtually useless for flood mitigation downstream in the event of a repetition of excessive rainfall.

    It goes on to say

    The monthly frequency of floods exceeding 2.74 m (9ft) at the Brisbane Port Office is given in Table 1. This shows that flooding is most common in the usual wet season months of January. February and March, and floods are rare from July to December.

    It also says

    The earliest flood recorded was in 1841. Its exact height is uncertain but it was said to be the highest flood known at that time. In 1857 (flood peak 4.42 m) a good deal of land, now the prestige suburb of St Lucia, but then a dense vine scrub, was submerged and in 1864 (peak 4.92 m) flood waters extended from the junction of Oxley Creek and the Brisbane River to the high land at the back of Coopers Plains, a distance of about 11 km. In the 1867 flood the original wooden bridge at the site of the Victoria Bridge was destroyed, and in January 1887 (peak 4.92 m) Bowen Bridge was washed away.
    Three floods occurred during February 1893. During the first (peak 9.51 m) the ship Elamang and the gunboat Paluma were carried into and left aground in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, and the ship Natone was stranded on the Eagle Farm flats. The Indooroopilly railway bridge and the north end of the old Victoria Bridge were washed away. Nine days later a second minor flood was experienced which attained a height of only 3.29 m. However, a week after that there was another major flood (peak 9.24 m) which carried the stranded Elamang, Paluma and Natone back into the Brisbane River!

    This was written in 1974 by BOM. In 2011 the forecasting was vastly superior but it seems decision making by SEQ Water was poor at best and took no account of this report!


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    Charles Worringham

    Treeman, I tried to word my statement carefully and not claim that this event IS linked to warming. Rather, I wanted to point out that it is impossible to say it had NO influence. A plausible mechanism has been put forward, after all – record high water temperatures contributing moisture. Of course, as you point out, the SOI is the well established predictive index of rainfall. Surely the aspect of rainfall that is most important here. though, is its intensity, so the annual totals in the graph you cite are perhaps less relevant. I calculated the mean and standard deviation maximum daily rainfall for all of the 193 months on the BOM’s Wivenhoe site. The 248.8 mm that fell last Tuesday was twice the previous maximum, and was 6 standard deviations above the mean maximum daily value for January. This was an exceptionally intense event. I would just point out that the IPCC 2007 Technical Report for Australia projected that “An increase in daily precipitation intensity (rain per rain-day) and the number of dry days is likely. Extreme daily precipitation (highest 1%) tends to increase in the north and decrease in the south with widespread increases in summer and autumn, but not in the south in winter and spring when there is a strong decrease in mean precipitation. As well as changes to average precipitation, the character of daily rainfall may change, e.g. the frequency of wet days (or dry days), precipitation intensity (rain per rain-day) and the intensity of extreme precipitation.” I therefore reiterate my point that to dismiss global warming as a potential contributor to intense rain episodes such as last week’s seems as a cop-out is a pretty big call.


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    Treeman

    Charles

    The annual totals are very relevant, as is the local rainfall. The 248.8 mm that fell last Tuesday is far less relevant to this discussion. The horse was already bolting by then.

    We are talking here about (mis)managing the water in Wyvenhoe that fell well before Monday, the rainfall that brought Wyvenhoe Dam to 144% by Monday morning!

    Conveniently there is no record here between Friday and Monday. Can you give me a standard deviation on that?


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    Treeman

    And now a message for the gullible this pearl of wisdom!


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    Dr K

    Prepare for these “once in a century” events to happen every year. Keep burning the coal , coastal power plants!


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    Baa Humbug

    Charles Worringham: #92
    January 16th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Charles

    Mate, I’ve seen statements from people about the SSTs being at record levels in various places. These high Ts are then linked to AGW in one way or another.

    However, there is a very simple and plausible exlanation as to why the SSTs around eastern Australia have been quite warm without the need to rely on AGW.

    Check out this chart here As you can see, the current La Nina is quite strong. The easterly trade winds has pushed those cool waters (blue) very close to the coasts of Australia and Papua NG. Warm waters are literally squashed against the Australian Eastern sea board.

    Under the influence of average or weak La Ninas, these warm waters are usually spread out further and wider to the east and the trade winds are weaker.

    These conditions are expected to last well into this year, so we can expect more heavy rainfall right up until the end of the wet season around early May. I expect more flooding in Queensland and Northern New South Wales especially around Easter.


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    Mervyn Sullivan

    Following my comment at 62, and the response from John Brooks at 64, I provide an interesting article that leaves all those warmists, who are linking the floods with man-made global warming, with egg on their faces.

    http://hauntingthelibrary.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/queensland-floods-climate-scientists-2010-less-moisture-over-australia-climate-scientists-2011-more-moisture-over-australia/

    The opening paragraph says it all: “In what is sure to be yet further embarrassment for advocates of the theory of man-made global warming it has emerged that climate scientists pinning the blame for the Queensland floods on global warming have been contradicting a report published by other climate scientists just weeks earlier.”


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    Ian Mott

    Ms Bligh confirmed yesterday that dam operators came “very close” to losing control of the massive Wivenhoe Dam at the peak of the flood crisis in Brisbane.

    Asked late yesterday if she believed the strategy followed by the dam’s operators in releasing water had been conducted appropriately, the Premier neither endorsed nor commended the strategy, saying it was a question for technical experts to examine.

    “We came very close to an uncontrolled release, but it didn’t actually get there,” she said.

    Bligh is lying. The System was at 191% at the start of the release and 36 hours later it was still 189/190%. So they dumped the full volume of inflows. They had, clearly, lost control and the volume of that lost control is the very volume that flooded Brisbane and Ipswich.

    Craigo #47. You claim people were just doing their best but few people would really believe that doing nothing from Friday morning to Monday night would constitute “doing their best”. The money invested in this dam was not made so that a few bureaucrats could have the weekend off during the next major flood crisis. It was invested to provide options to manage flood flows and allowing the buffer to disappear eliminated all the options.


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    Roy Hogue

    For those of us who live half a world away and only get the disaster part of the story: what is the status of things in and around Brisbane now?

    Thanks

    Roy


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    Treeman

    Roy
    The cleanup is well underway. Brisbane Mayor Campbell Newman had 11,000 volunteers over the weekend. They were bussed to flood areas where teams of other volunteers brought out the damaged furniture and it was then handed one to another and into loaders that stockpiled it in parks where it was taken away. My friend brought a generator to drive my water blaster and our team of ten worked full bore and emptied out six rooms and two bathrooms cleaning down the muck as we went. The process was replicated everywhere across Brisbane with some homes still below water level left for later. Coffee and tea tents were everywhere, cooking meals for the workers. This will go on for quite some time. The team spirit is awesome!


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    Roy Hogue

    Treeman,

    Thanks for the update! I’m glad to hear that people have taken such a hand in helping their neighbors in distress. That, as you said, is truly awesome.

    Roy


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    brc

    @Ian Mott : You should really provide some evidence if you think the entire dam monitoring staff took the weekend off. Perhaps the overall dam management needs to be reviewed, but right in the middle of a major event is not the time for the staff to be making off-the-cuff decisions. The dam might have gone close to the top, but that’s what you’d expect if they were trying to maximise the flood-mitigating capability. We should all wait for the forthcoming review before making comment.

    @Dr K : Nobody said brisbane floods were once a century. It’s happened three times in the past century, about 5 in the century before that. Perhaps you can explain how coal fired power stations caused the 1893 floods – note the plural because there was three separate flood events in the space of a month. Perhaps you can explain how the prior drought was caused by those same power stations – given the drought was well within historical variability as well. 1893 : ~290ppm c02, highest flood peak. 2011 : ~390ppm c02, flood peak still not as high, flood frequency lower. I’d like to see the tortured statistical methodoloy used to get a correlation out of that one.


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    crakar24

    Our hearts go out to the people affected by the floods, here in sunny Adelaide we have not been subjected to such horror. Its bad enough that these people have to suffer as they are and the last thing they need is idiotic morons (re Bob Brown and Karoly)telling them it is all their fault because of their CO2 foot print. I have not refrained from posting on this thread due to my lack of knowledge of QLD rivers and dam capacities but also out of respect to the people of QLD until now.

    There are some people in this world that thrive on others suffering, lawyers and bankers are two examples that come to mind but in light of recent events we can add pollies that have now interest in their constituents but merely run on their own hidden agendas and wannabe scientists trying to make a name for themselves.

    Now that these morons and others like them have opened up this can of worms we are duty bound to call them on their bull shit.

    I would like to ask the foot soldiers of the new religion a question but first lets lay out the ground rules.

    1, The El Nino/La Nina events are determined by SST between Darwin and Tahiti and is known as the Southern Oscillation Index.

    2, The strength, length and regularity of El Nino and La Nina cycles are very much dependant of the Pacific decadal oscillation. A -ve PDO will produce stronger La Nina’s and a +ve PDO will produce stronger El Nino’s.

    3, El Nino’s generally produce a warming bias globally and less rain/drought conditions in Australia whilst La Nina’s generally produce a cooling bias globally and more rain/floods to Australia.

    The latest claim by Bob Brown and his cohorts is that AGW has raised the SST between Darwin and Tahiti therefore La Nina’s or in particular this one has been very strong ergo AGW has caused or played a major role in this latest flooding AKA Extreme climatic events.

    Now lets investigate this claim more closely.

    1, If the SO Index is +8 or above for three months running it is considered to be a La Nina condition the three month running index is now about +27.9, now one may say “Gee thats high” and yes it is but these values are not unprecedented and have happened back (coincedentally) in 1974 (-ve PDO)and i believe in 1917.

    2, The CSIRO and BOM have gone out on a limb and predicted AGW will cause less rain, more droughts and higher temps for Australia, these conditions are what we get from El Nino conditions especially when the PDO is in its +ve phase (1998). As the PDO is in its -ve phase and will be for at least another 20 years one would think that a rise in SST from AGW will further enhance La Nina and further decrease El Nino. If we take this to its logical conclusion the next 20 years will see the global temps drop, the NH will continue to be hammered during winter increasing snow and ice falls will be common thus the albedo -ve feed back will increase even more and Australia will enjoy 20 years of very good rain fall.

    The nett result will be the CSIRO/BOM dooms day predictions will be shown to be a complete crock of shite and of course with higher precipitation/ice and snow their will be cooling and less WV in the atmosphere to bring forth the “four horseman of the apocolypse” (Genesis Reg TM).

    3, In 20 years or so when the PDO shifts into its +ve phase and we get stronger El Ninos these will be very meek and mild due to AGW’s warming of the SST.

    So to sum up its “Happy Days” for many years to come.

    Now i am sure the retarded few out there will soak up what Bob Brown and his ilk say as if the high priest himself (Al Gore) has said it but seriously can any of you find a flaw in my logic?

    I invite all of you to make an attempt.


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    crakar24

    Here is another wannabe scientist peddling his wares and now lets think about this for a moment.

    If Jones stood up three years ago and said ” Jesus will return in January 2011″ and he failed to show up would you think he was a religious nut job?

    I ask you what is the difference between the above statement and the link below.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/the_drought_that_warmists_said_would_never_end_just_did/


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    pat

    17 Jan: Herald Sun: AAP: Brisbane River flooding avoidable, claims engineer
    THE Brisbane River flooding would have been largely avoided if dam operators had raised their releases of water on the weekend before last Monday’s deluge, an engineer says.
    Engineer Michael O’Brien told The Australian the river flood and the devastation of thousands of homes was inevitable after a decision to release relatively low volumes of water from the Wivenhoe Dam on Friday, January 7, and over the ensuing weekend.
    He said over that weekend the dam’s operators released a total of about 200,000 megalitres.
    Scrutiny of official water-release and dam volume data shows the flood would have been moderate at worst in Brisbane had there been larger releases in the days before the deluge, he said.
    Mr O’Brien, whose written review is based on publicly available data released by the Queensland government-owned dam’s operators, SEQWater, said full disclosure is vital to reassure people that the dam was operated responsibly.
    However, SEQWater Grid chief executive Barry Dennien has insisted that although the January 8-9 releases were relatively low compared with what occurred in the days afterwards, this was in accordance with the operating manual to mitigate flooding.
    He said that nobody had foreseen the extreme rainfall that ensued.
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/brisbane-river-flooding-avoidable-claims-engineer/story-fn7ikbtj-1225989328977

    the entire water policy MUST be investigated and Wivenhoe’s water storage level should never be allowed to reach 100% when no-one will be using the water anyway.


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    Following the snow in England and the lack of suitable clearance equipment, a local councillor pointed out that it would have been political suicide for the council to have budgeted for new machinery as all the experts were telling them that we were never going to have heavy snow again. For similar reasons, public companies, like our airport owners, didn’t invest as it was never going to happen.

    A few months ago, I read that “experts” had said that Australia was now entering a long period of drought and there would be acute water shortages. No doubt, those responsible for flood prevention, having been told it would never happen saw no reason for action.

    I blame the climate change / global warming zealots for these disasters – not for causing the weather, but for discouraging people from taking preventative measures.

    I would add that I have great sympathy for the people of Queensland and for Brisbane in particular. I wish them all well.


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    pat

    15 Jan: UK Telegraph: What was the role of warmists in the Queensland flood disaster?
    Australia was told to prepare for droughts as a result of climate change, and let down its guard against flooding, writes Christopher Booker
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8262064/What-was-the-role-of-warmists-in-the-Queensland-flood-disaster.html


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    Ross

    I see your Senator Brown is at it again by saying the coal industry should pay for the clean up and associated cost of the Queensland floods.
    Coal exports and use form a significant part of Australia’s GDP and therefore contribute a significant part of his salary — is he going to give that part in support of his “religion” ?


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    Ken Stewart

    Reality check time:
    1. As far as I know only 2 deaths resulted from the Brisbane River flood. The others were due to the flash flooding in Toowoomba and the headwaters of Lockyer Creek and its tributaries, and another at Dalby to the west.
    2. People live on flood plains. Better access to water, better soil. They take the risk knowing they will be flooded one day. However, since 1974 much additional housing was built in Brisbane and Ipswich below the 1974 level and well below the 1893 level. This was approved by Councils. This also happened at Emerald. Ipswich had 1800 houses flooded in 1974 and 3000 in 2011- by a smaller flood. That’s 1200 extra houses.
    3. There was plenty of warning of the impending flood in Brisbane- people were told on Tuesday to get out.
    4. This flood was a baby compared with 1841, 1893, 1974… and others eg before white settlement. The rain was not that remarkable either- storms rather than general rain.
    5. People have short memories, and they think it can’t happen again. Perhaps we need brightly coloured flood marks on every power pole and building in flood areas, and flood maps in every real estate window.
    6. Intense rain events are not unusual and have happened many times in the past eg 1916 Clermont flood; 2008 Mackay flood (600mm in 5 hours). It was most unfortunate that this one happened over a modern city (Toowoomba) and a steep range slope.
    7. This flood was not due to the monsoon which was 2000km north at the time. (The monsoon trough did come down over Christmas and the days after which caused the flooding in Emerald, Bundaberg, Theodore etc, and Rockhampton (still). It will come down again in the next few days/ week, and probably again in March.) This was caused by an upper trough.
    8. Floods are dreadful. People are resilient, kind, and help others. Witness the clean up effort.
    9. Floods will come again. It’s amazing the number of people, especially older ones, who say “We’re getting back to how the weather used to be 30-40 years ago. It’s a cycle.”
    10. I’ll leave it to the coming judicial inquiry to sort out responsibility for the dam releases and their impact.
    11. The best flood insurance? Live on a hill.

    My heartfelt sympathy to the victims of Monday’s flash floods, and to the people flooded out of homes and businesses. My congratulations to the army of clean up volunteers, and emergency workers.

    Ken


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    Warren

    Ian, the accusation that nothing was being done over the weekend-as in no change to the release quantities on a daily or hourly basis- is baseless.

    WaterGrid’s archive of water release information shows that releases were being increased steadily over this period. Who was doing this ,if everybody had knocked off for the week-end?


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    Fed Up

    Here’s a new term for global warming climate change climate disruption climate challenges climate snake-oil terminology:

    Climate @$$hole: A fake scientist who promotes the fraudulent theory of global warming while attacking genuine scientists with ad hominem attacks, such as calling them “deniers”.


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    brc

    @ken – some good points. I particularly like the idea of marking telephone poles in various locations (several per suburb).

    I’d just like to add that while people scratch their head and ask ‘why do they live on a flood plain’ – I can ask the following:
    - why does anyone live within 5 km of the QLD coast, given that the majority of it is at risk of cyclones (and I’m in this category).
    - why does anyone live in the bush in Victoria, NSW, WA or SA given the likelihood of catastrophic bushfires at some point?
    - why does anyone live in mountain towns like Thredbo, or any hilly areas for that matter, where the possibility of landslip is ever-present.
    - why does anyone live in LA or San Francisco or Tokyo, given the virtual certainty that an earthquake will happen?
    - flood insurance is realistically only available for people at virtually no risk of flooding. Most people below the 1974 flood line won’t have insurance because it is cost-prohibitive to get. As someone who helped develop automatic flood underwriting systems for an insurance company, I can tell you this is absolutely the case.

    The reality is that very few places in the world where you are immune from nature. The more beautiful the setting, the higher the chances that one day it will try and kill you or at least take your house. 40 years between floods is a long time, and while it is devastating, as correctly noted the Brisbane flooding comes with very little loss of life, and if you take into consideration the almost complete halting of vehicle traffic for 4 or 5 days, has possibly saved more lives than cost them.

    We are all at risk of being shown who is boss. We just choose our risks. I agree the risks should be better communicated, but people will still choose them. I’d rather stare at the sea and wonder when a cyclone will come rather than hide from the sea every day worrying about what will happen one day.


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    Ian Mott

    I would really like to thank Treeman for all his effort on this thread over the weekend. I had 3 whole days of sunshine down at the farm and had to take advantage of it. And for the first time ever I actually missed not having internet there.

    Warren, the discharge rate can vary without management input but only in a lesser range. There are a number of flood gates each with a height of about 16 metres (don’t quote me). And a decision to open one or two of them allows the discharge volume to rise as the water level rises. But this is a function of the water cross section and the outflow is limited by that cross section. To deliver a larger response requires a decision to open additional gates and it is fairly clear that the people who had the authority to open additional gates were either not there, or were not contacted, to get the necessary approval. Clearly, the number of gates needed to discharge 100 Gigs/day is likely to be about 1/6th the number required to discharge 645 Gigs.


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    Ray Boorman

    Ian/Treeman #42 – check this link for wivenhoe dam levels. http://www.seqwater.com.au/public/catch-store-treat/dams/wivenhoe-dam Unless they have fiddled the figures, treeman’s stated levels are not correct. Seqwater shows the dam at 100%-110% on Jan 9th, rising to 120% on the 10th, then down to just over 100%. It was not till late on Jan 12 that it started the big rise to 190%. I believe the operators ought to have released more water before this event, to about 50-60% capacity, as with an above average wet season in progress, they were guaranteed to recoup all water dumped in anticipation of flooding. Somerset Dam should also have been maintained well below 100% capacity.


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    Fed Up

    ODE TO KEVIN TRENBERTH

    Yet another
    Onerous climate disagreement
    Universal rancor everywhere

    As we
    Raise our
    Environmental concerns

    Always and forever like this?

    Can’t we get along?
    Love one another?
    In spite of our differences?
    Murder
    Ad hominem is
    Tasteless,
    Evil!

    Ah!
    Sorrowful day
    Sorrowful climate of science
    Have we no hope?
    Our reserves of integrity
    Lessen
    Everyday.


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    Mark D.

    Mr Pensioner @ 106

    I enjoyed visiting your blog site. I think we may have at least a few things in common although I am not a pensioner yet nor do I expect to have any retirement in the foreseeable future. None the less, I am a little optimistic partly because I run into people like you. Thank you.


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    Ray Boorman

    Sorry Ian/Treeman, your’e right, I’m wrong – I have just realised the plot on the SEQwater website has an error in the dates listed along the horizontal (X?) axis. Hovering over the dots on the plot gives date & level percentages which match those in watergrids’ news releases.


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    stan

    #31 IM:
    Further to talk of a class action as noted above:
    “And if they SEQ Water doesn’t have a policy then the rate payers of the major shareholders, the State Government, Brisbane City Council, Ipswich Council and a number of others who are not anywhere near the flood zone, will eventually foot the entire bill. The meter is already ticking on the class action.”

    I wonder if there is a case to be made for a class action against the lenders for bankrolling (at extreme levels) development in known floodplains. It is not so much that lenders have funded naïve home buyers and investors to build and buy residential property in flood-zones (it is legal), but that the loan amounts are far in excess of what should have been lent for such property.

    No-one forced the banks to lend such large amounts to buyers, but that is their stupid decision, their tribute to irresponsibility and loan-interest chasing. Perhaps banks could be required to wear the cost of loans in default (as write-downs) and government could give recent buyers an escape clause in their loan contracts with the banks (via means of some kind of legislation).

    Also like the idea of marking power poles in flood zones and tagging real estate sales info.


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    bananabender

    re: Ian Mott:
    January 17th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    You are talking nonsense. I have been following the SEQ Water site for over three years. They have never updated dam levels on weekends. However the dams are always constantly monitored.


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    Ken Stewart

    brc:
    Yep I agree on everything you say. Until 2009 we did not have flood insurance as we are up on a hill. Following 2008 Mackay flood Suncorp now automatically gives everyone flood insurance whether we need it or not. We tried to opt out but can’t. Oh well the extra couple of hundred dollars might help some of the poor beggars who got flooded. We are less than 10km from Coral Sea and someone else’s storm and tempest might help us if we get blown away in a cyclone. (Only 3 insurance companies will provide house and contents for our postcode.) But I wouldn’t live right on the beach or just a couple of metres above sea level- like in Mackay. Too much risk for me- not for others.
    Ken


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    brc

    @Ken Suncorp has made a big deal about the automatic flood cover. What it hasn’t made a big deal of is the massive premium jumps for people in flood-affected areas, which saw a lot of policy cancellations as people found other insurance companies a lot cheaper. As Suncorp now has an umbrella of brands, they’re happy to shuffle off bad flood risks into other brands (or indeed other companies) which don’t include flood cover, and then give the ‘main’ brand an image boost. Kind of like Qantas and Jetstar, if you like. Qantas has re-invented itself as a ‘premium’ brand by having Jetstar-only on the tourist routes where people don’t care about a business class lounge and a glass of wine on the way.

    I live within 100 metres of the mighty pacific and house and contents is not measurably affected premium wise. Except for the bit where it excludes any damage done by salt water! I’m a goner if the big one hits but with any luck I’ll still have 4 walls and a roof to fix up, and I’ll still own the land – maybe it will even turn into a waterfront block. I guess after that I’ll be straight down to Canberra with my hand out like everyone else. I may even blame global warming to increase my chances of payout :)


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    One thing for sure, as sure as night follows day, there will be bunches of people all over trying to work ways to spin this disaster. Maybe a bit of panic thrown in for good measure.


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    Dr K

    @brc
    Most of the TV channels and newspapers were saying that the floods were once in a century. After the 1974 floods they made an “infallible”, “fool proof” plan to make sure that the 1974 floods never happened again, which was to build the Wivenhoe. As you can see, there was so much rain that the dam was within 90cm of an uncontrolled spill.


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    chris

    At Seqwater, our role as the region’s bulk water supplier can best be described in three simple words – Catch, Store, and Treat. Unfortunately we forgot to Manage and Release.


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    Warren

    Ian @113,while no doubt increasing water levels will increase flows through a set gate aperture,I don’t get the impression from WaterGrid press releases that it was set-and-forget over the weekend. The Saturday the 8th press release states that “all five gates are now open” and discharge was expected to “reach 100,000 megalitres this afternoon”. They then state “releases will be reviewed and may change depending on rainfall,inflows into the dam and river flows”. On Sunday the wording is similar,and they state “gate operations…may change at short notice…”


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    Treeman

    Warren

    Can you please tell us where you get the impression all five gates open equals 100,000 megaliters per day.
    I can’t find it here
    or here
    or here

    This quote from the last link January 13 at 2.06 am.

    Meanwhile, water releases from Wivenhoe Dam have been reduced from an overnight peak of 645,000 megalitres to 205,000 megalitres per day.
    As at 9pm Wednesday Wivenhoe Dam was at 189 per cent, down from 191 per cent overnight, while Somerset Dam was down from 190 per cent to 186 per cent.

    Wivenhoe was releasing 215,000 megalitres, up from 205,000 megalitres earlier in the day, but still lower than a peak of 645,000 megalitres per day on Tuesday night.

    The Somerset Dam is discharging 123,000 megalitres per day. Releases are expected to be increased to 301,000 megalitres per day when the downstream peak in the Brisbane River has passed.

    It also is taking major flows from Somerset Dam, whose Stanley River is in flood. Somerset Dam is at 190 per cent.
    Dam managers say all dams are safe and operating within design specifications.
    After the peak in the lower Brisbane River has passed – possibly some time late this evening – releases will be increased again to 301,000 ML per day.

    Clearly “all five gates open on saturday and releasing 100,000 Litres” is far less than the 645,000 Litres on Tuesday night. We can but only wish they had been releasing 650,000 Litres back on Friday. The quote above validates everything we have said here and demonstrates clearly that more should have been released earlier.


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    Treeman

    Warren

    Found it here

    If you look through the press releases from 8th to 13th January the data is damning. The biggest release was at 11pm Tuesday. They were cranking it up over the previous two days when they should have been throttling it back. Look closely at the numbers and tell me that we are wrong to suggest it could have been managed better.


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    In the Guardian (of all places) – Germaine Greer writes an excellent article about the Brisbane flooding.

    Australian Floods: Why were we so surprised?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/15/australian-floods-queensland-germaine-greer

    Only a passing mention of AGW, an article of total clarity and sanity….

    ie predicted months ago, by meterologists, a worse flood in 1893, quotes that poem ‘ the land of drought and floods’, mentions that the dam used to manage the water flow, was not used properly, because they did not want to waste the water, etc,etc

    Germaine was born in Australia and spends 3-4 months there a year. Thus a little local knowledge, trumps alarmism.

    An interesting quote:

    “Professor Neville Nicholls, president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, believes that “the Queensland floods are caused by what is one of the strongest (if not the strongest) La Niña events since our records began in the late 19th century”. He was asked if the intensification was a consequence of global warming, and declined to comment. Other people have been rather too quick to claim the extreme weather as a direct consequence of global warming. (It will surprise many readers of the Guardian to learn that in Australia there is still a bad-tempered debate about whether global warming is happening or not.)”

    Could someone email it to Damian Carrington and George Monbiot ;)

    Best Regards

    Barry Woods http://www.realclimategate.org

    Extract Below by Germaine Greer:
    “It takes La Niña to bring rain to the inland, in such quantities that it can hardly be managed. Manage it Australians must. The Wivenhoe Dam on the Brisbane river was built to protect the city of Brisbane from another flood like the one of 1974. For years it has been at 10% of capacity, so when it filled this year nobody wanted to let any of the precious water out. It eventually became clear that the dam had filled to 190% of its capacity, and the authorities realised with sinking hearts not only that the floodgates would have to be opened, but that the opening would coincide with a king tide in Moreton Bay. The question nobody has been heard to ask is whether or not the level of water in the dam should have been reduced gradually, beginning weeks ago. The mayor of Brisbane, aware that a disaster was about to occur on his watch, made a hysterical attack on the opponents of dam building, but what the succeeding events prove is that dams are no substitute for a coherent water strategy.

    The phenomenon is anything but momentary; the not-so-exceptional rainfall will continue, probably until the end of March. Professor Neville Nicholls, president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, believes that “the Queensland floods are caused by what is one of the strongest (if not the strongest) La Niña events since our records began in the late 19th century”. He was asked if the intensification was a consequence of global warming, and declined to comment. Other people have been rather too quick to claim the extreme weather as a direct consequence of global warming. (It will surprise many readers of the Guardian to learn that in Australia there is still a bad-tempered debate about whether global warming is happening or not.)

    One of the penalties of living on the east coast, as most Australians do, is that all the rain that falls on the mountains known as the Dividing Range heads your way. Up here, at the top of the watershed, I have only to fear a landslide, which will happen if slopes now bulging with water actually burst. At sea level, it’s anybody’s guess. Meteorologists and hydrologists try to predict peak levels and peak times, and have to revise their estimates up and down like yo-yos.

    The world is aware of what has been happening in Australia because so much of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane, the “most livable city in Australia”, is now submerged in dirty brown water. Smaller towns in Australia have been flooded for months; some have been flooded five times since the beginning of December. What the rest of the world must be asking is why Australians don’t take steps to minimise the destruction? In the southern US you could take your Chevy to the levee; Australians rarely build them. An eight-metre levee has kept the town of Grafton dry, though the Clarence river is in massive spate, but Yamba, further downstream has no levee and is under water. Goondiwindi has an 11-metre levee to protect it from the Macintyre river, but hydrologists have predicted a peak of 10.85 metres – far too close for comfort. Evacuations have begun.”


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    Warren

    Treeman, I never said all five gates open MUST equal 100,000 Ml/day. I was quoting a WaterGrid press release of 8/1/2011 which said that five gates were open and discharging that quantity. Five gates can be opened to release whatever you want up to at least equivalent 645,000ML/day per second as demonstrated recently in that overnight peak. They certainly did not actually release 645,000ML for a 24hour period.

    Clearly the five gates can partially opened to each pass 20,000ML. Or you could set four to pass 25,000ML and give one the day off,so to speak…..obviously ,these cable controlled gates can be set in many combinations.

    If you throw the whole lot fully open at absolute max level of 80m,the spillway can discharge 13,400 cumecs MPF or 1,158,000 ML/day!

    I’m not suggesting that more could not have been released,I was wondering why anybody could be so sure that “everyone went home on the weekend” when the WaterGrid press releases from the 7th to the 11th and the below-dam data from the Government show that flows were varying by the hour.

    I don’t think you are across the story yet,you don’t have any idea how much was released from the dam between the 7th and 12th inclusive because no 24 hour figures have been released,and you don’t know how much entered the dam. All you know are spot flow figures at odd times of the day as per the media updates. The 645,000Ml/day figure represents the top spot or transient measurement expressed rather clumsily in ML/day.It pretty much seems that it will be at the top of a bell curve or similar,and the actual 24 hour figure will be more like half to two-thirds of that.

    The critical questions remain ,if policy was to precautionarily draw the dam down below 100% FSL water supply from the 4th,5th or 6th Jan,how much should they have anticipated they needed,and how fast could they safely discharge the hypothetical amount?

    If such a policy was in place a month ago,then what level would be decided as the new FSL water supply? Would they increase the flood reserve by 10%,12.5%,15% or 20%. 20% is about 230,000 ML. Should they have taken it down more? If it had rained heavily for another day,say another 100-150mm in much of the catchment,would even thirty percent have been enough to keep the Brisbane River below major flood level?

    For my two cents,I think they will be raising the dam pronto,because the water supply function is vital and cannot be diminished.


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    DavidR

    According to this post the last time we had a La Nina of the sizer we have today was 1917. http://joannenova.com.au/2011/01/laptop-beats-met-supercomputer-soi-index-scores-a-win/

    However in 1917 we did not see unusual floods of the type we have seen in Brisbane last week.

    Rising sea temperatures and rising global temperatures are the most likely cause of this variation suggesting that the current floods in Queensland are probably caused by global warming.

    Roy Hogue you may not like the facts but that does not make them wrong. Brian Valentine might not like us pointing out the impact of AGW on the current floods but there is plenty of evidence for increased temperature and warmer seas. AGW predicts these events and we are seeing them occur. Sanctimonious claptrap about your prayers for those effected will do nothing to alleviate the fact that you are little more than an environmental terrorist ignoring the evidence that these events will become more common as AGW continues.


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    wes george

    As usual, Ian Mott is good for stirring the pott. Thank God for Ian and Jo (Treeman, et al) and the Internet or we would all be information age peasants beholden to our mainstream media masters.


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    Treeman

    Warren, David R and other doubters
    Finally the MSM are across the facts

    Data obtained by The Australian shows that, without that release, which peaked at an unprecedented rate of 645,000 megalitres a day, flooding in Brisbane would have been minimal.

    Data from Wivenhoe Dam’s owner and operator, the Queensland government-owned SEQWater, shows the peak flow in the Brisbane River when the river hit a height of 4.46m in the early hours of last Thursday was about 9000 cubic metres per second. Hydrologists and engineers said a release at a peak rate of 645,000ML a day would produce an estimated peak flow of almost 7500 cubic metres per second, leading to the conclusion that the flooding occurred because of the massive release from the dam.

    It usually takes 36 hours for a release of water from Wivenhoe Dam to reach the city gauge in the capital. The peak release of water from the dam occurred late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday. The Brisbane River peaked in the state capital about 4am on Thursday, coinciding with a king tide.

    One of the critical tasks for the commission of inquiry into the floods, announced yesterday, will be to decide if Wivenhoe’s operators held on to water in the flood compartment for too long and released relatively small amounts on the weekend of January 8-9, and were forced on January 11 to start a drastic release strategy to avoid the possibility of collapse.

    Engineers and hydrologists have said they could not understand why it was necessary to hold so much water since the recent establishment of southeast Queensland’s water grid, with desalination plants and pipelines to ensure the region would not run out of water.

    Senior Brisbane engineer Michael O’Brien, who analysed the dam’s outflow for The Australian, said: “We have a dam that should have worked but we did not use it properly. It didn’t work and we flooded Brisbane. That flooding did not need to occur.”

    Another engineer who has been examining the published data said he believed the dam had been poorly managed and that “unfortunately it has been turned into a man-made disaster”.

    “With saturated catchments during a strong La Nina cycle in the middle of the wet season, and with a weather bureau forecast for a significant 200-300mm rain event transpiring, the discharges from the dam over the weekend of January 8 and 9 were paltry and extremely deficient,” the engineer said.

    Other experts have commended the work of the dam’s operators. SEQWaterGrid chief executive Barry Dennien said the dam had been run according to its operating manual and he was unable to answer further written questions because of the inquiry.

    There will be no answers from the bureaucrats under the convention of sub judice there will be enormous pressure to break the convention now the media is across the facts.


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    Treeman

    There’s more here

    This story takes the cake and says it all for me

    DAVID Goodwin and his family drove up to Wivenhoe Dam on the afternoon of Sunday, January 9, to witness the release of water from the dam’s gates.

    When they got there, the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry president was struck by something he regarded as odd.

    The volume of water coming through the gates was not nearly as large as he had expected, given the rising levels in the flood compartment, the widespread rain, the warnings of La Nina-linked extreme wet weather on the way and the onset of the wet season.

    “It was not the time to be holding water when you’re coming into the wettest time of the year and the dams are already at full capacity for water supply,” Mr Goodwin told The Australian.

    “As someone who stood near the spillway that afternoon, I was surprised at the relatively moderate volumes coming through.”
    The official records from SEQWater show that, at 6am on Friday, January 7, Wivenhoe Dam, Brisbane’s insurance policy to protect the city and surrounding suburbs from a massive rainfall and flood event, was at about 106 per cent capacity. This means that Wivenhoe had filled to 100 per cent of its capacity for water supply with a total 1.15 million megalitres, and it was 6 per cent into its additional 1.45ML of storage for flood mitigation.

    On Saturday, January 8, it is understood to have let about 100,000ML go; on Sunday, when Mr Goodwin’s family was there, a further 116,000ML were released.

    By 9am on Monday, the levels in the dam had soared to just over 148 per cent, and it was reported that managers at the dam had “scrambled”.

    That afternoon, the extreme rainfall over Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley unleashed a maelstrom that the Bureau of Meteorology had not predicted. While the run-off from this event did not fall into Wivenhoe’s catchment of about 7000 sq km, the dam’s operators were caught by surprise and released 172,000ML as the capacity went past 150 per cent.

    Through Tuesday, as Wivenhoe continued to rise past 175 per cent and then 190 per cent, the situation was becoming critical as the available buffer for more rain had been almost fully taken up. Nobody wanted the dam to go to 200 per cent, and the theoretical maximum of 225 per cent needed to be avoided at all costs.

    One of the crucial questions that will be asked in a commission of inquiry, called late yesterday by Premier Anna Bligh, is whether the releases from the flood storage compartment of a little over 200,000ML on the weekend were too little, too late, necessitating a huge outpouring to get levels down quickly.

    The operators of the dam gave the order on Tuesday, cranking up the release to a staggering peak rate of 645,000ML a dady. At that point the Brisbane River flood was not a case of if but when: the computer modelling showed major flooding from this Wivenhoe discharge was inevitable and would peak in the 36 hours the water would take to reach the city gauge.

    The release from Wivenhoe at a peak rate of 645,000ML a day represented up to 30 per cent of the dam’s total capacity. Nobody was under any misapprehension about the consequences. It was this release from Wivenhoe that represented about 80 per cent and perhaps more of the volume in the Brisbane River.

    A rainfall event that could have been comfortably managed by the dam if its flood compartment had been lower had turned into a major flood that would devastate thousands of homes.

    SEQWater has strenuously defended its actions and insisted that its operators on the weekend acted professionally and strictly according to the manual, adding that they could not foresee the worsening weather.

    Mr Goodwin, who represents thousands of small business owners, wants to know why the dam was not releasing more water over the weekend, when he visited.

    Some engineers and hydrologists who are not involved in the dam’s operations but who have studied the release data believe the Brisbane River flood was mostly attributable to the fact the dam had stored too much water over the weekend.

    “A release of 116,000ML on Sunday and then 645,000ML on Tuesday is just so disproportionate — and it demands explanation,” Mr Goodwin said.

    “I want to know why the dam’s operators did not release much sooner than they did . . .

    “I want to know why it is prudent that you run your biggest dam at 100 per cent of its supply level at the beginning of the wet season.”

    As I wrote a few days back a senior government adviser told us that that the politicians and bureaucrats were arguing over releases days before Tuesdays decision to let it all go..


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    Treeman

    Here’s one for Pat. This article is all about what happened in the Lockyer Valley and is damning of BOM. Sorry for taking so much space Jo but not everyone has linkability.

    WEATHER watchers warned of flash flooding and a wall of water which wiped out parts of the Lockyer Valley hours before the tragedy occurred.

    But the official alert highlighting the real danger to the region didn’t come until after the deluge had already swept through, killing at least 10 people in Grantham and surrounding towns.

    As of last night, 12 more people were still missing.

    An online forum featuring a meteorologist and amateur storm chasers revealed there were concerns with the level of rainfall over Grantham at 12.16pm on Monday, January 10 – more than two hours ahead of the “inland instant tsunami” in the region.

    An hour later, at 1.10pm, one blogger warned of flash flooding and, at 1.41pm, another said a wall of water was threatening Lockyer Creek.

    The deadly torrent – estimated in places to be at least 8m high – descended on the region, destroying homes at Murphys Creek, Withcott and Grantham, between 2.30pm and 3pm on Monday.Later that day, Premier Anna Bligh said the massive surge was a “complete freak of nature” and “came out of nowhere”.

    As Ms Bligh yesterday announced a commission of inquiry, she acknowledged she still did not have any answers about what occurred, but expected the inquiry would examine whether forewarning of the event could have been better.

    The Bureau of Meteorology said it did issue severe weather warnings for heavy rainfall leading to localised flash flooding for people in the Southeast Coast, Eastern Darling Downs and Granite Belt the night before and again at 5am and 11am on the Monday.

    But it wasn’t until 4.16pm, after the disaster, that it warned of “moderate to major flooding” in Lockyer Creek and surrounding waterways. At 5pm, the bureau made a “top priority flash flood warning” for Helidon – but still no mention of Grantham – with very fast and dangerous rises possible downstream at Gatton over the next few hours.

    Queensland Bureau of Meteorology director Jim Davidson said the bureau needed time to check the details of what was known and when.

    “Even now, with so many people tied up in operations, it’s not that easy to cross-check times,” he said. “We’re … gathering information ourselves (and) everything will be available in due course.”

    The first media release from police warning Toowoomba residents to stay indoors was issued at 5pm on the Monday. At 6.50pm, they warned residents living between Gatton and Ipswich to evacuate, followed by a severe weather alert for Toowoomba at 7.10pm. At 8.10pm, residents in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley were told to move to higher ground.

    Weatherwatch meteorologist Anthony Cornelius was one of the first to alert the online weather community with fears for Grantham and rang his family living in the Lockyer Valley, telling them to stay home, out of the line of fire. He said the bureau should have known “or at least have an idea of what the effects would be”.

    “The Grantham area had already suffered several flash flood events during the past few days, and they were from rainfalls and even radar echoes that were much, much smaller than what was showing on the Monday,” Mr Cornelius said. “Helidon, upstream of Grantham, recorded an 8m spike in creek level in a short period – that’s an incredible rate of rise.

    “Approximately an hour after that, the bureau issued a warning for the Lockyer Creek but they mostly discussed the lower catchment. They indicated moderate to major flooding but made no mention of the very large spike coming down from Helidon that would go on to Grantham and Gatton.”

    Mr Cornelius said once those huge spikes occurred in Helidon, “there should have been some fairly big alarm bells going off at the bureau”.

    “I just hope the public don’t think: ‘It was such an extreme event, it could have been easy to miss’ when it wasn’t. There were very strong indications that something big was going to occur.”

    Mr Cornelius said the bureau was the only body allowed to issue weather warnings.

    The weather watchers, using the BOM site, last night indicated they would present their analysis of the flash flood to the royal commission, which will look at the adequacy of warnings.

    Their concerns mirror the findings of the state-sponsored report into Brisbane’s 1974 floods which was also critical of the adequacy of warnings.

    Brisbane’s own defences against flood will also come under close examination through both the official inquiry as well as through state government investigations.

    Premier Anna Bligh said levees might be built along the Brisbane River or the Government might consider rezoning land to improve the city’s ability to cope with floodwaters.

    The official inquiry will also examine the way the Wivenhoe dam performed and its water releases were managed.

    The dam was built after the 1974 flood, specifically to help prevent the city from going under again. Water from the dam was progressively released into the Brisbane River in the weeks before the flood of Thursday, January 13, as heavy rain fell across the city and in Wivenhoe’s catchment area.

    Greater volumes were released in the days immediately preceding the flood.

    Ms Bligh said there were hard questions to be asked.

    “At the end of this, we want to be more resilient and better protected from these sorts of events,” she said.

    She suggested some homes should not have been built where they were.

    “Clearly we have some very old homes that are in places that are clearly flood-prone,” she said. Equally, there are some places that have been approved by various authorities 30 and 40 years ago that are not so old and they’re going to have big questions as well.”

    And the real information has only started to come out!


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    crakar24

    David R at 130,

    I realise that as you see your religion die a slow and horrible death you need to scratch and claw at anything within reach in a vain attempt to keep the dream alive so i can understand why you have latched onto the ramblings of your spiritual leader Bob Brown.

    Did you read my post 103? I know i challenged all the retards (thats you) out there to prove me wrong, your post has all the rantings of a religious nut job unfortunately it lacks one thing….EVIDENCE. Doe your puny little brain know what that is?

    Have a look at this link

    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/PDO.htm

    Keep in mind the 3 dates as to when we had a strong La Nina (1917, 1974 and 2010/11) and then have a look at the state of the PDO can you see a difference?

    I understand you probably dont have the brain power to understand what all the pretty little colors mean so maybe you can get a sibling or friend to explain it to but there is no point asking a religious leader like Bob Brown to explain it because his brain is a small as yours.

    Good day you moron.


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    Ian Mott

    Yes, Treeman, that article from The Australian looks so familiar it is almost plagiarism, but only a curr would complain. It looks like Game, Set and Match to the unencumbered intellects. And foremost among them is yourself. It is not often one gets a blog thread that starts with a sniff of truth in a forest of backscatter and proceeds to systematically hunt it down through every nook and diversion until it is cowed and cornered. And a large part of that result has been your work. Well done. And well done Jo Nova for the guest post and well done the fellow travellers who also spoke out on the issue.


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    brc

    DavidR – you should know by now that wild claims can be easily research on the internet and disputed in a matter of minutes. Why people like yourself continue to listen to your ‘denier alerts’ and arrive late bring a rubber knife to a factual gunfight I’ll never know. Here’s the facts : QLD regularly is inundated with large amounts of rain. Has been since the recorded history of QLD began. There is nothing out of the ordinary in this latest event – if anything, it’s not as large as prior events. And even if it is warmer, there’s no conclusive evidence or knowledge of what fraction of that fraction of a degree is due to increased GHG concentrations. You’re talking like putting an eyedropper of red dye into a pool will turn it pink.

    The AGW believers would have been better off maintaining that the droughts are because of global warming, and that the rainfall was a temporary blip. If you’d stuck to your original thesis you’d still have something to argue from. Reversing your prior line of argument and curve-fitting your theory to the data just makes you look silly. When even Germaine Greer can be sensible and avoid spouting off about something, you know the argument is a strong as a flooded box of tissues.


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    Treeman

    Thanks Ian
    I’ve been a weather watcher for years and started taking flood level measurement as soon as I got back to Brisbane on Tuesday.

    For three days my routine was go down and measure and come back to BOM and Weatherzone. I’d been on double watch since the week before Christmas as the project on which I’m working was totally dependent on rain while we were completing the irrigation system. Incredibly the Gold Coast, Tweed coast and NSW northern rivers hinterland had almost as much rain as the catchments here (around Brisbane) before Christmas. The precedent has been set for early warning and intervention only a few weeks before the big rains here.

    I’ve been a WUWT, Roy Spencer, Icecap, SPPI, Climate Depot, Lubos Motl and Chiefio visitor since they started up.

    Jo deserves much credit for leading the charge with AGW in Australia. The Sceptics handbook has been pivotal in bringing reason to the debate worldwide.

    Andrew Bolt deserves credit here as he has been an AGW sceptic well before most. Interesting how bolta is the most visited site in Australia yet cops the most criticism from your unencumbered intellects.

    The last month has seen AGW alarmism discredited on more fronts than can be written down here but we can’t afford to slacken off until the Bob Browns and Al Gores of this world are utterly discredited

    Well done Jo, Ian and Andrew. I’m just a single minded old dog who won’t let go once my teeth are into something!


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    brc

    If it’s true about the Wivenhoe releases, we can all agree – Anthropogenic Climate Change caused the Brisbane flooding. Not because increased co2 caused warmer temperatures which caused higher rainfall. No true scientists is going to be silly enough to try and prove that tenuous link.

    No, because constant harping and alarmism forced authorities to not release the water they should have, because activists like Flannery continually harped on that we would never fill the dams again. So they don’t release the water when they should, fearing it will never rain again. And then it had to be released all in one go, flooding the city. All because a bunch of activists with an earth-worship complex ran around yelling ‘it will never rain again’ for 10 years.

    Well done Flanner, Hamilton, Karoly and friends. You really screwed the pooch this time.

    As for Bob Brown – still haven’t seen him up here helping out. He could even just hand out tea and scones with the old ladies if we was worried about getting his hands dirty. Or donate some of his record political donation.


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    Warren

    Treeman,again,I don’t doubt that discharges could not have been higher early…in hindsight. If discharges had been 100 Gl higher on the 7th,8th and 9th,the dam managers would have been able to lower and broaden the profile of the flood. How much is not within the ken of journalists,I’m afraid. Spreading 300GL out of a 4000GL flood would not have stopped all flooding,even if they had been directly able to translate that 300GL to pulling down the peak at the dam.Lots of things happen below that point.River flows slow,tributaries enter while flooding to their own time frames,and Brisbane stormwater run-off is greater than ever with another 1,500,000 people and a few [a lot]more km2 of concrete in the basin.

    However,The Australian is just stirring the pot,and seems to have less a handle on the stats than we do. A 4.46m flood at the city gauge does not equal 9000 cusecs.And a peak discharge of 7500 cusecs at the spillway does not stay at that rate as it descends a long river. They do not realise that they cannot extrapolate discharge rates from a dam gate with certain dimensions and steep fall,and apply them without modification to a wider ,flatter rougher tidal stream bed scores of kilometres away. And there is no one in the office to point this out,it seems. The so-called data obtained by the Australian is no more than the same press release information we have all seen.

    Now we have an inquiry,I wonder if the professionals will even be allowed to correct such egregious errors before the interim report in August?

    Obsessive weather watchers did notice the intense rainfall registering in near real time at Toowoomba Airport,but were their concerns,or the abilities of a hypothetical enhanced warning system really able to get to all residents of Murphy’s Creek in the time available?

    Another thing I have realised,as I suppose have many others, is that there are a scary number of houses in the position to be flooded to roof level in this day and age. Just how high above the river are they in normal flow periods?

    This inquiry will be very enlightening,don’t worry about that.


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    Treeman

    Sorry Ian, miscued in sentence 5 last post. Meant to write “encumbered”


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    Treeman

    Warren
    What do you do for a living? Private or public sector will do!


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    Warren

    Treeman,Private sector, with moles in public places!


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    Treeman

    Warren
    Same! My mole watched them bickering ten days ago.

    You say

    The Australian is just stirring the pot,and seems to have less a handle on the stats than we do. A 4.46m flood at the city gauge does not equal 9000 cusecs.And a peak discharge of 7500 cusecs at the spillway does not stay at that rate as it descends a long river. They do not realise that they cannot extrapolate discharge rates from a dam gate with certain dimensions and steep fall,and apply them without modification to a wider ,flatter rougher tidal stream bed scores of kilometres away. And there is no one in the office to point this out,it seems. The so-called data obtained by the Australian is no more than the same press release information we have all seen

    I suggest
    Discharge rates from a dam gate can be equated to tidal stream bed scores of kilometres away. Where does the difference go…up in the air?
    Besides, 99% of the population have not seen the data which you suggest is available to all. You are way too kind describing those with the decision making capability as professionals. All it would have taken is one true professional to ring the bell on Saturday and take the risk to flood a few rather than many.

    You say

    If discharges had been 100 Gl higher on the 7th,8th and 9th,the dam managers would have been able to lower and broaden the profile of the flood. How much is not within the ken of journalists,I’m afraid.

    I suggest that journalists are only relaying what an increasing number of engineers have been saying for days


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    Ian Mott

    Sorry to be nit-picky, Warren. But once the soil of a catchment is completely saturated then the run-off characteristics of soil is exactly the same as concrete. That is effectively 100%. The degree of urbanisation is only relevent in normal circumstances, not the abnormal.

    But for some back of the envelope numbers on urbanisation;

    1,500,000 additional pop since 1974/2.6 per household = 577,000 dwellings, /12 dwellings/ha = 48,000ha at 50% paved area = 24,000ha of concrete/pavement/roof.

    So 100mm of rain will add only 24,000 ML to the run-off total in normal circumstances. This is significant in dry years but, as recent events demonstrate, is diddly squat in “the big Mofo”.


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    Warren

    In terms of concentrated stormwater flows backing up against river water at the head of side creeks,those local inputs can build up levels a bit,Ian. It may make the difference in a few cases between water just below the floor boards,and just above. Extra concrete and roof area can deliver water faster than higher friction soil or vegetated surfaces. But I agree, while 24GL is a lot of water[more than the reckoned annual yield of Wyaralong dam] I don’t want to make too much of that facet,by all means be nit-picky.

    Treeman,indeed,discharge rates at the dam wall CAN be equated to flows at any point downstream…but only by those who can account for the underlying hydrological differences between any two given points and other impinging factors in thousands of km2 of catchment below Wivenhoe.. Not journalists working from a couple of points of data,and no background.

    The 1974 flood at 5.45m on the city gauge had a peak flow around 7000 cumecs ,I believe,though I really should check. That was a longer[two days longer above major] higher flood. This flood at 4.6m did not rise significantly faster than ’74,and was nearly a metre lower. 9000 cumecs at the city is not on. What the journalist has done here it seems is simply add the peak transient flows from Wivenhoe to estimates of same from the Lockyer and Bremer,regardless of actual timing or consideration of missing data and shift them downstream without regard for the realities of hydrology. Good enough for pot-stirring,but not for the inquiry.

    I suggest the journalists are conveying the pointy bits of engineers observations,and leaving out the qualifiers and caveats. Is that surprising? No.

    From what I know,the various experts were working very hard throughout this period,with extended shifts. A lot of people on the job,trying to co-ordinate information between agencies.This is what you would expect. Gauging above Wivenhoe was missing data here and there and showing very volatile river height movements,there may have been a false dawn [my speculation] after the first of the double peaks seen at slightly different times in most streams. The rain intensity quit,against forecast, by 11pm Tuesday night,but enormous volumes were rushing in and one could not say that the rain would not re-intensify after an hours lull: all the meteorological features were there in as real a time as can be appraised. The rain forecast was for continuation well into the next day…and a 300GL -gained in hindsight- last week would not have made any real difference to 9 out of 10 of the possible scenarios the dam guys had to consider going forward at midnight.


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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maurice H Rich, Nathaniel Wilson. Nathaniel Wilson said: Did the SEQ severely fail "Flood mitigation 101"? http://bit.ly/dL73a3 Certainly looks like it :( #FB [...]


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    It’s good to know that in light of a tragedy where people have lost lives and livelyhoods, our governments are behaving in an open, honest and unbiased way.

    WILL STEFFAN has been appointed to head an inquiry into the floods.

    This is the same man who has already attributed some of these floods to AGW.

    We can’t lose can we? We have wonderful people looking after our interests in times of need.

    Are we ready for some lies, dammned lies and statistics?


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    pat

    Treeman -
    don’t leave this thread, please.

    18 Jan: Herald Sun: Brian Williams: Wivenhoe Dam ‘eased the Brisbane flood’
    RAIN was so heavy in the 7020sq km Wivenhoe Dam catchment before Brisbane’s floods last week, that levels in Wivenhoe Dam were rising by up to 5 per cent an hour.
    Seqwater figures, distributed before yesterday’s royal commission was announced, show the dam produced a marked reduction in the flood passing through Brisbane.
    Total inflow into Wivenhoe Dam at this time was 2.6 million ML a day, equivalent to the dam’s entire storage.
    SEQ Water Grid spokesman Barry Dennien said this compared with a flow of 1.5 million ML in 1974, showing what an extreme event was under way…
    Mr Dennien, who has been under pressure over how dam releases were handled, believed that water was released according to a prescribed manual laid down by the State Government.
    “The whole idea is that we have a very strict set of rules about how we handle these events, and we didn’t stray from the manual,” Mr Dennien said…
    He said staff monitored the dam 24 hours a day, right until the weekend leading up to the floods via 200 gauges.
    As to whether the Brisbane flood could have been avoided by releasing more water on the weekend leading up to the floods, Mr Dennien said the dam was operated as per instructions.
    “We went into Monday holding what the dam manual told us to hold,” Mr Dennien said….
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/wivenhoe-dam-eased-the-brisbane-flood/story-fn7ikbtj-1225990238530

    anyone care to comment.


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    pat

    tax levy, not levees…

    18 Jan: Reuters: UPDATE 1-Australia govt weighs levy for flood damage -report
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL3E7CH15S20110118


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    Treeman

    Warren

    You say

    From what I know,the various experts were working very hard throughout this period,with extended shifts. A lot of people on the job,trying to co-ordinate information between agencies.This is what you would expect. Gauging above Wivenhoe was missing data here and there and showing very volatile river height movements,there may have been a false dawn [my speculation] after the first of the double peaks seen at slightly different times in most streams. The rain intensity quit,against forecast, by 11pm Tuesday night,but enormous volumes were rushing in and one could not say that the rain would not re-intensify after an hours lull: all the meteorological features were there in as real a time as can be appraised. The rain forecast was for continuation well into the next day…and a 300GL -gained in hindsight- last week would not have made any real difference to 9 out of 10 of the possible scenarios the dam guys had to consider going forward at midnight.

    You are absolutely right. “Experts running around trying to communicate, co-ordinate” Expert def. A drip under pressure….Yes I can see it now, just like my mole has said, they were bickering amongst themselves. That the rain quit on Tuesday against forecast is their only salvation. I assume you are talking about midnight Tuesday. As mentioned earlier the horse had already bolted by then and we’re not talking about releasing 300GL the week earlier, we’re talking about 300GL per day from early friday when they were releasing only 130GL/day. This would have put at least 800GL past Brisbane and ensured the ability to shut down releases from Wyvenhoe a full 36 hours before the projected peak. Furthermore gauging above Wyenhoe must surely be irrelevant when the dam is increasing in capacity at better than 20% per day at the dam wall. You can spin it however you like but one thing is clear. Whether by one hand not talking to the other or by lack of a coherent emergency plan they stuffed it up big time!


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    Treeman

    Pat

    Mr Dennien

    indicated that total flow in the Brisbane River in 1974 was 9500 cubic metres per second.
    “The estimated flow from this (latest) event in the river would have been 13,000cu m per second, if Wivenhoe did not exist,” he said

    What he has not said is what the estimated flow would have been if SEQ Water had been able to close the floodgates on Tuesday afternoon instead of opening them full bore. Spin at its very worst I suggest.


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    Treeman

    Pat

    Dennien also said

    “We went into Monday holding what the dam manual told us to hold,” Mr Dennien said.

    He said 50 per cent of the catchment was downstream of the Wivenhoe Wall, an area over which dam managers had no control.

    They were supposed to have had control over the other 50%!


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    Warren

    Treeman @151,on Friday 9th they were upping discharge to 116 Gl by midnight and were at 170GL by morning 10th. By afternoon 10th they were at 236GL early evening 10th.Releases kept rising ,they were at 490GL by afternoon 11th and hit that 645 GL transient by midnight 11th or a touch after.They got on top of inflows and dropped it to 205GL by mid morning.

    The gates were never opened ‘full bore’.They were opened to pass 7465 cusecs,and only for less than an hour.Full bore is 13,000 cusecs at Imminent Flood Failure,at EL80m…interesting that Dennien’s peak flow figure is right up there.

    The basic scenario is that Wivenhoe reduced the severity of the flood. On Barry Dennien’s inflow figures,you’d have to agree.I suppose you are arguing that the optimum anticipatory outcome would have been an even greater reduction. I think that may have been a possibility,but don’t overestimate it. The no-dam scenario was the mother of all fast,high floods,given the way the rainfall was distributed physically and in time. A higher,more rapid and destructive peak than 1974 with a quicker tail off.

    What this really shows is that Wivenhoe needs to be raised,and the project fast-tracked, because eating into the water supply function and reducing Historic No Failure Yield to gain modest flood buffer increases is not satisfactory for water demand going forward,or for actual mitigation in severe floods.


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    Treeman

    Warren

    You’re right about a higher more destructive peak than 1974 with a quicker tail off.

    Higher and more destructive because SEQ water accelerated the rise in Brisbane below Wyvenhoe by increasing flows at a time they should have been decreasing them.

    A quicker tail off because SEQ Water stopped releasing the 50% of the flow they had just regained control of. I believe you’re right about the need for a greater flood buffer. I’m not so sure about raising Wyvenhoe though. It would be prudent to reduce the concentration of stored water and flood mitigation capability in the Somerset Wyvenhoe catchments and build the dam that Kevin Rudd killed and a few more that can not only provide a more sustainable storage in drought but also mitigate flooding in the Locker and Fassifern valleys.


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    Treeman

    Baa humbug @148

    When one looks closely Steffen has not been appointed to head up the enquiry. He’s a member of the of the climate change committee set up by the Gillard government in September last year and has undertaken to write his own independent report….skewed no doubt to produce a carbon culprit like the one he mentions here

    Steffen acknowledges La Nina but states

    “What we can say about the Queensland floods is there is a strong La Nina, which tends to give this heavy rainfall, but in addition to that there are very high sea surface temperatures.”

    The article backs up Steffens with this

    Professor Matthew England, joint director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW, says the temperatures are the highest ever recorded.

    Rising sea temperatures, especially in northern Australia, are a key part of the climate system, says Prof England.

    “Climate change has seen a warming of waters globally, and the waters north of Australia are an important part of the climate system for Australia’s monsoon rains.

    “They are at their warmest ever measured and we cannot exclude climate change from contributing to this warmth, (and) if it is very warm there this enhances evaporation into the atmosphere, creating moist air.”

    Prof Steffen agrees the temperature rise is a climate change phenomenon. Sea temperatures have been rising for years, he says.

    He cites a study in the US that looks at rainfall in a heavily saturated area over the past 100 years.

    “(In the study) there’s been a significant increase (in rain in the area) since 1980 consistent with a strong warming,”

    What Steffens and England fail to mention is the PDO
    It’s pretty clear to me that Steffens and England are desperate to find food for Gillard’s committee and are busy politicising the floods rather than genuinely trying to get to the truth. They are being very selective with Climate science and will eventually be called to task for it.


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    Treeman:
    January 18th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Prof Steffen said he would produce an update on the science for the committee, as part of the Garnaut climate change review update, as well as write his own independent report.

    Yes you’re correct, thnkyou for bringing it to my(our) attention.

    Though one would be excused for thinking he has been tasked by the Climate Change committee to update the Garnaut Review. We’ll see how it pans out.

    In the meantime, I’ll post to a Hauntingthelibrary article regards the official Queensland Govt. Climate Change Report.


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    Warren

    Treeman,what was the dam that Kev killed? Wolffdene on the Albert? It only had the yield of Wyaralong, 19 or 20 GL/annum. Sites on the Bremer or Warrill Creek? Fill me in,please. Wivenhoe has a yield of 360GL/a.

    I don’t know about that accelerating-the-rise thingy,the flow curve looks like a regular flood peak to me,and a lot of water has been held back and pushed across the back end. You do have to look at this from the no-dam curve,which may have been twin -peaked or with a saddle in between,extrapolating from the graphs in the upper Brisbane at Gregor Creek. It would have been higher. Gregor Creek saw a transient peak of over 500 Gl/day over some tens of minutes,and thats from 40% of above Wivenhoe catchment. Combine that with Cressbrook Creek, Stanley River barely restrained by Somerset,and the unaccounted for streams pouring off the super wet D’Aiguilar range,500mm in less than two days right over the southern end of the dam surface,and you have a peak well in excess of 800GL/day transient at the dam site. I think that is a very conservative estimate. Barry Dennien obviously estimates higher, and he’s a pro. I think people will be amazed at some of the data that comes in.

    There is a big fat report on Wivenhoe raising options from a few years back. Provision of Contingency Storage or something like that. Well worth a read,and it’ll give you something else to get exercised about! Why wasn’t this report acted on in? We cannot,particularly in the light of this flood, rely on Wivenhoe for enough protection,and we cannot afford to lose any safe yield. We really have outgrown Wivenhoe in a sense. Bigger population,in vulnerable sites,and the dam’s just about committed for water supply. It needs to be bigger.


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    From HAUNTINGTHELIBRARY comes this…

    I thought it might be worth having a look at the official Queensland government’s official report on climate change, in particular the section on Observed and Projected Climate Change.

    What did it have to say about drought? Well, a heck of a lot, actually. Queensland, according to the report, was going to get hotter and drier. Some areas might see a slight increase in rainfall, but the vast majority could expect a significant drop in rainfall. Droughts would get more common.

    Report: “drought” mentioned 24 times.

    What about floods then? What with all the global warming heating the air up over the oceans, couldn’t Queensland expect more heavy rainfall and flooding? I looked for the page on floods, but there wasn’t one. Looked for the paragraph on it, but again, no sign. Not even a word.

    Report: “flood” mentioned zero times.

    The report (pdf 13ppg) is HERE

    It is full of Red, Orange, pics of droughts, cracked dried soils etc.
    I did a word search myself (flood) nil result.

    Anybody reding this report, including decisionmakers could be excused (if one tries really hard) for thinking heavy rainfall and floods were a thing of the past. (a search for the word heavy returned nil result)

    Well worth checking out.


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    DavidR

    BRC @ 137,

    There is nothing out of the ordinary in this latest event – if anything, it’s not as large as prior events. And even if it is warmer, there’s no conclusive evidence or knowledge of what fraction of that fraction of a degree is due to increased GHG concentrations.

    As I pointed out @43, most of Queensland has just had its wettest month and year on record. It was not just abnormal it was unprecedented.

    Your suggestion that the 0.7 degrees of warming since 1917 is not caused by increased GHG concentrations is simply not supported by any scientific evidence. Your dismissal of the evidence doesn’t change the evidence. If you have evidence of an alternative theory feel free to raise it but don’t just post links to blogworld rubbish.


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    Treeman

    Warren

    This post on ABC Drum unleashed suggests Wolfdene would have had a capacity equal to Wivenhoe. Remember it was designed during the days of the visionary Joh Bjelke Petersen like Wivenhoe as flood mitigation and storage.

    Rudd facilitated the cancellation of this project as a political lever for Goss. He continued to use the environment as a political wedge until he came unstuck with the ETS. With additional storage such as Wolfdene, the political pressure to hold back Wivenhoe as long as it was would have been far less and Wivenhoe’s functionality as a flood mitigation dam would have been fully utilised.

    I’m proud to have been involved with the the process that saw Malcolm Turnbull unseated for giving Rudd the carbon handshake and then the Senate blocking the ETS. Many hundreds of emails to all Senators were sent from my computer.

    As sad as all this is, I can’t help but recall a line or two by Van Morrison and Mark Knopfler.

    They had you cryin’
    And you came up smilin’
    They had you crawlin’
    And you came up flyin’
    They had you cryin’
    And you came up smilin’
    And the last laugh, baby is yours
    Don’t you love the sound of the last laugh goin’ down?

    The 7.30 report tonight is revealing.


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    Treeman

    Hansard May 10, 2005 Mr Hobbs Warrego

    When members cast their mind back to the Wolfdene Dam, it was to be the same size as Wivenhoe. Everyone knows how big Wivenhoe Dam is. It is about 1.3 or 1.5 million megalitres. It is a huge dam. The Wolfdene Dam was going to be very similar. The land was bought, and the Goss government came in and it sold the land. We are now in a desperate situation for water. The government is talking about building a dam at Boonah. It is just a big puddle two kilometres downstream from a sewerage station. Only 36 per cent of the land has been bought. The government has a real problem on its hands.

    In the absence of better information it appears that Wolfdene would have been a magnificent deep water dam with capacity to allow Wivenhoe’s full flood mitigation capability.


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    Warren

    Treeman,an FOI request from the Courier-Mail a few years back got hold of the Wolffdene EIS. Wolffdene was nowhere to be seen,and the proposal for an Albert River dam had moved upstream beyond much of the best ag land to Glendower Homestead east of Beaudesert. It was a shallow 86GL dam,catchment 300km2 with a yield of 18.9GL/annum,was more expensive than Wyaralong,and was less productive..so where is Ms Novak or Mr Hobbs dam or plans? Perhaps another larger project was mooted with a bigger higher wall,but did this one proceed to planning and EIS? The Albert River in no way offers a deep water damsite,as the basin is broad and shallow below the mountains. Glendower and Wyaralong were mooted to work in tandem,but as I said Glendower failed the cost/benefits. One report did some upscaling of a Glendower,with bigger and bigger dimensions up to about 600GL,and the yield came in at 46 GL/a before environmental flow considerations. that is pretty feeble, and suggests that a magical giant Wolffdene with little over twice the catchment are would generate nowhere near as much as Wivenhoe.

    I reckon the big Wolffdene claims are technical BS. They had political currency,not practical reality. Think about it. A reliable dam of 1200GL volume in a catchment area of 700-800km2? No matter the decent rainfall on the east and south of the Albert basin,that is an improbable ratio of volume to catchment area. Even super-productive Hinze Dam is 161GL from a 207km2 catchment, though I guess that is as much because of physical constraints as yield considerations.

    Wolffdene at Wivenhoe scale would have flooded the productive soils from Bromfleet upstream,which is worth so much more,nowadays as horse studs,for better or worse. It would have been broad and shallow with high evaporative losses. Why can’t anyone even produce a sketch or plan of it? Because it existed mainly for the press to whip the Labor party with.


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    Treeman

    Warren

    I spent two hours last night looking for Wolfdene info and every reference related to deep water and comparable to Wivenhoe. Why can’t we find more information on Wolfdene on-line? Because there is very little except Hansard references mostly in the political squabbling. The concept was pre internet and Rudd’s claim to fame was that he shut it down.

    There’s much about all of this that has political currency sans practical reality, particularly relating to what happened here last week. Let’s not loose track of the big issue here. The 7.30 report engineer O’Brien put it much clearer but the same message is there. Doing it by the book was not enough and may well have made it worse for SEQW.

    David R

    Where is your proof that “most of Queensland has just had its wettest month and year on record. It was not just abnormal it was unprecedented” Have a look here at 1890-91,1892-3,1916-17,1917-18,1920-21,1950-51,1955-56,1973-74,1983-84.

    The 2009-10 “record” is mostly concentrated in the south west of the state.

    Just for the record SST and rainfall correlations are experimental. SPOTA-1 monitors Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from March to October each year and, on this basis, provides long-lead ‘outlooks’ for Queensland summer (November to March) rainfall.
    SPOTA-1 is currently experimental and is being fully documented in a PhD study (Ken Day, University of Queensland).

    Your suggestions that the recent flood was in any way related to SST and by inference CO2 are speculative at best.


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    crakar24

    DavidR @ 160,

    Did you read post 159 before writing post 160? It would appear not.

    I have already shown you that a strong -ve PDO in combination with a strong La Nina will give you big floods (1974 and now) whilst a strong La Nina with a mild -ve to +ve PDO will not. Post 159 tells you the experts (a person who has made every mistake possible in a very narrow field) claimed increasing CO2 will give us droughts not floods as you claim.

    You then make this remarkable statement “Your suggestion that the 0.7 degrees of warming since 1917 is not caused by increased GHG concentrations is simply not supported by any scientific evidence. Your dismissal of the evidence doesn’t change the evidence. If you have evidence of an alternative theory feel free to raise it but don’t just post links to blogworld rubbish.”

    Do you David have any evidence to support your claim that CO2 increases caused this flood?

    Remember IF co2 has caused the SST to rise thus creating an even stronger La Nina then we can never get strong El Nino’s which cause drought so you can only have your cake or you can eat it you cannot do both.


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    Treeman

    Crakar24

    Cheers

    Eating humble pie are the warmistas today. Imre Salusinszky I salute you.


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    brc

    @DavidR (160) – if you really think that BOM graph shows that ‘most of qld had record rainfall’ then I suggest you’re not very good at comprehending info-graphics. Any 8 year old will tell you the record high area covers about 25% of the state. In total the ‘average rainfall’ area is about equivalent. In no way could you draw the conclusion that “most of Queensland has just had its wettest month and year on record”. The only correct statement is ‘parts of qld had their wettest month on record’. Don’t lecture me on posting truth when you come armed with half-truths and exaggerations.

    As for your other ludicrous statement “Your suggestion that the 0.7 degrees of warming since 1917 is not caused by increased GHG concentrations is simply not supported by any scientific evidence. If you have evidence of an alternative theory feel free to raise it but don’t just post links to blogworld rubbish”.

    That’s not how science works, chum. You’ve got to prove your hypothesis, I don’t have to prove an alternative. I’ve got the null hypothesis, you’ve got the alternative. It’s up to you to prove it. Not even the IPCC reports are prepared to go on record at higher than 95% confidence level, instead deciding to stay at the safer 90% level. And while you’re at it, prove that the rainfall was primarily caused or significantly increased by c02 concentrations. We’ll all be waiting for your reply. Not even your activist scientist heroes are prepared to go out on a limb and definitively link the floods to warmer temperatures, couching their statements in ‘might’ and ‘could have’ and ‘possibly’. Only lost-his-marbles Bob Brown makes bald faced lies like that. Or lost-his-credibility Flannery, who was running around saying we would never (no maybes, possiblys or could-bes, never) see rain like this again.


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    [...] Is this just an unlucky act of nature or have the floods been “helped along” by unscientific behaviour ? Let’s look at the raw data - global and [...]


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    Treeman

    David R……?


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    Treeman

    brc

    Now here’s an interesting bit from NASA. Sunspot activity predictions revised again and looking more like the Maunder Minimum of 1675 -1715.

    I wonder if Bob Brown can dream up carbon offsets for that.


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    DavidR

    BRC,
    Queensland just had its wettest year on record!! As I said a large proportion of the state, (25% is a large proportion) had record rainfall, most of the rest was in the top 10%. Very little in the bottom 70% of records. Your quibbling over exact percentages doesn’t change the facts.

    [25% is LARGE? no I think that 75% is large. I suppose you could argue that all day so I'll just say "don't do it again"]ED

    As I said [snip] [Proof is needed!]ED

    [snip argument from authority]

    [DavidR, Jo gave a warning about unsupported comments. Heed this warning as of now or you will not get out of moderation]


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    Dave

    Since the first word on the possible mismanagement of the dam, this blog has been by far the best source of credible discussion and I once again applaud all involved.
    From a layman’s perspective it appears SEQ have allot to answer for, I just wish I understood the hydraulic terminology a little more.


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    RobJM

    The claim that global warming caused the high SST that caused the flooding is absolute BS! There has been no increase in the heat content of the entire tropical pacific as can be seen in the following graph
    equatorial pacific heat content 300m
    In addition to this the AGW forecast was for and increase in the number and intensity of el nino’s with a decrease in la nina’s.
    The flooding was of course caused by a record strong la nina and nothing else, I clearly contradicts CAGW

    As to the dam releases, It is clear in the statements that the low release levels at the start of the event were because higher releases could not be allowed due to the risk of urban flash flooding. If 300mm had fallen on brisbane while high levels release levels had gone past the even more people would have potentially died.
    I also suspect the peak 600k release rate was timed to coincide with low tide, which was not when the high flood level occurred.


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    pat

    thanx for the responses re Dennien’s version.
    i thought it significant he was pointing out the manual was generated by the State Govt, and that he said the staff monitored the dam 24hrs a day “right until the weekend” leading up to the flood. does that sound like an admission they didn’t monitor the gauges 24/7 on the weekend?

    brisbane times has had a link for the flood inquiry terms of reference since yesterday, but there is only a headline when i visit there. there were 4 comments yesterday and 6 comments today, but none of that opens:

    17 Jan: Brisbane Times: Queensland’s flood inquiry: the terms of reference
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/weather/queenslands-flood-inquiry-the-terms-of-reference-20110117-19tv7.html

    leader of the opposition is asking for the inquiry’s terms of reference to be expanded:

    18 Jan: ABC: Chris O’Brien: Expand flood inquiry’s reference terms: Langbroek
    Queensland Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek says the terms of reference for Queensland’s flood inquiry should be broader…
    Mr Langbroek says the inquiry lacks the ability to look at issues outside its specific terms…
    Premier Anna Bligh says Queensland’s flood inquiry is broad enough.
    “The terms of reference for the inquiry are the broadest possible terms of reference, going to every aspect of the management of this disaster,” she said.
    “I would just say to those in the Opposition, please don’t play politics with a commission of inquiry.
    “By all means there’ll be time for oppositions to whinge and complain and raise questions, but right now this commission of inquiry has a very serious job to do.”…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/18/3115656.htm?site=southqld&source=rss

    i don’t know how to copy from pdf, but Langbroek is asking for clarification as to whether SEQWater, Qld Water Commission and Energex are included in a particular term of reference:

    Letter from LNP leader Langbroek to Premier Anna Bligh:
    http://www.jplangbroek.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/JP-Letter-to-Anna-Bligh-180111-22.pdf

    had to go to a blog to actually get the Terms of Reference:

    urbananalyst: Queensland flood inquiry to examine planning
    The Commission will be headed by Queensland Justice Cate Holmes with Deputy Commissioners Jim O’Sullivan, a former Queensland Police Commissioner and Phil Cummins, an international expert on dams…
    QUEENSLAND FLOODS – COMMISSION OF INQUIRY – TERMS OF INQUIRY
    The Commission’s Terms of Reference will require the Commission to deliver:
    an interim report by 1 August 2011 (on matters associated with flood preparedness to enable early recommendations to be implemented before next summer’s wet season); and
    its final report by 17 January 2012…
    http://www.urbanalyst.com/in-the-news/401/401.html

    incredible watching endless news breaks on channel 7 during the tennis and none ever mentions the Inquiry. nice.


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    pat

    if stewart franks is correct, why would we need to fill wivenhoe above let’s say 40%? that is the figure quite a few older queenslanders warned me it should not go above (in water supply storage) if wivenhoe was to save brisbane from flooding rains:

    14 Jan: Australian: Siobhain Ryan: La Nina ‘here for decades’
    Stewart Franks, associate professor in environmental engineering at NSW’s University of Newcastle, said his research suggested “enhanced” La Ninas would dominate eastern Australian summer weather patterns for years to come.
    “What we noticed is El Nino and La Nina events are actually not random, they tend to cluster, and they cluster on time frames between 10 to 40 years,” he said.
    Professor Franks, an Australian national representative to the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, said the last run of strong La Ninas occurred between the mid-1940s and mid-1970s, culminating in the 1974 floods.
    They were followed by about three decades dominated by El Nino dry climate patterns…
    “We are seeing a return to the devastating impact of the enhanced La Ninas we saw in 1945 to 1975, so that indicates to my mind that it’s entirely possible that were facing 20 to 30 years of repeated, frequent or enhanced La Ninas,” he said…
    While La Ninas tend to dissipate by April, the intervening months could still bring more monsoonal rain to soaked catchments, he warned.
    The Bureau of Meteorology, which has attributed the Queensland floods to this year’s La Nina, has put the odds of above average rainfall for southeast Queensland at 70 per cent for the first three months of this year.
    Peter Baddiley, the bureau’s Queensland flood warning service manager, said the risk of flooding would continue through to March. “You just cannot rule out the possibility of floods again in Queensland, possibly in different areas, possibly in the same areas,” he said.
    But Mr Baddiley said he doubted the state would see such severe wet weather again this summer.
    “You need a special set of circumstances to create that level of record rainfall and flooding over such a wide areas and it would be really low in the odds to receive something of that scale again,” he said.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/la-nina-here-for-decades/story-e6frg6nf-1225987421955

    btw this appears to be the source of Germaine Greer’s reference: “In June last year the bureau of meteorology issued a warning that La Niña was about “to dump buckets” on Australia”

    24 June: Herald Sun: Malcolm Holland: La Nina to drop buckets on Australia
    GET ready for a wet late winter and a soaked spring and summer – “The Little Girl” could be back.
    The Bureau of Meteorology believes a La Nina, Spanish for The Little Girl, is more likely than not to form before the end of winter…
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/little-girl-to-drop-buckets-on-australia/story-e6frf7l6-1225883472125

    15 Jan: Guardian: Germaine Greer: Australian floods: Why were we so surprised?
    Meteorologists warned Australians six months ago to prepare for a soaking. And nobody did a thing …
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/15/australian-floods-queensland-germaine-greer


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    pat

    read all:

    19 Jan: Australian: Andrew Dragun: Far too much water left in the dam
    (Andrew Dragun is an adjunct professor in economics at the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University. He is editor of the International Journal of Water)
    Unfortunately, the outlook for the next couple of months is not good. The BOM warns that a strong La Nina weather pattern exists. Heavier rains and possibly cyclones are expected. Hydrologist Aron Gingis has warned of the problems of holding too much water in Wivenhoe and Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman saw it coming…
    It seems the manual and the operator do not differentiate between the weather outlook of an El Nino (dry drought) and a La Nina (rain, flooding). After the drought, Wivenhoe reached 96 per cent of its supply capacity on March 16, 2010, and has been maintained at that level or higher since.
    Despite the La Nina weather, the operator has chosen not to vary the supply capacity one degree. The rules make no allowance for rainfall outlook, El Nino or La Nina: it does not matter.
    Since last October the Wivenhoe operator has had three warnings. On October 13 the dam reached 126 per cent of capacity, on October 21 it reached 111 per cent, and on December 29 it reached 123 per cent. In each case the operator reduced the water level only to 100 per cent.
    With the rainfall outlook, why didn’t the operator reduce the capacity further?…
    It will be interesting to see if the dam operators have “the balls” to stop the releases at 100 per cent supply capacity…
    There is room for better hydrology here, but the bottom line is risk management.
    This would modify the Wivenhoe dam supply capacity to between 500,000ML and 750,000ML, and should be instigated as a matter of extreme urgency. The risks of low water availability in the near future appear to be a shadow of the risks of more extended flooding, especially with the massive public investment in desalination and recycling facilities, which provide water supply security…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/far-too-much-water-left-in-the-dam/story-e6frg6zo-1225990589929

    i have seen references without links to a warning by BOM that wivenhoe should have been reduced to 80% water storage capacity sometime prior to the rains. anyone found a link for that?

    i believe the reason the water was not released was political, because of the billions spent on drought-proofing. as i’ve said previously, no-one could even afford to use more water as our water bills skyrocketed last year. a complete reversal of water policy is required and quickly, given La Nina conditions.

    plus the situation regarding the pipes at East Creek in Towoomba needs to be investigate immediately and remedied if necessary.

    there’s no time to waste while the inquiry goes ahead.


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    Ian Mott

    Interesting, Pat. If the “manual” was provided by the State Government then it means our shonky little mate, Robertson, Minister for DNRM, is in the frame once again. This guy attracts green boofheads like flies to a turd. And given the overwhelming alarmist biase and dearth of professional standards in that nest of spivs, we can reasonably assume that the writing of the manual dealing with extreme flood events was delegated to either the kid on work experience (on a mission from Captain Planet), or the guy who was just one more stuff-up away from forced retirement. And in DNRM that is about as close to the bottom of the intellectual barrel one can possibly get.


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    crakar24

    DavidR in 171,

    Firstly David can you provide a link to a study, paper, article, press release or even casual conversation were the “experts” predicted Australia will get more rain from increasing CO2?

    I tried to find some info at CSIRO and found an article here http://www.csiro.au/files/files/p3ct.pdf

    It is called “Climate change impacts on Australia….”

    And here is the executive summary.

    http://www.csiro.au/resources/pfbg.html

    Of course the CSIRO are not stupid so their prediction for future rain fall events is “Annual average rainfall could increase or decrease” this gutless attempt at grant funding is followed up by this gem “Changes vary from –10% to +10% by 2030 and
    –35% to +35% by 2070, relative to 1990.

    Wow i wonder how much of MY TAX MONEY has gone into this scam.

    And what about this gem “Some inland and eastern coastal areas may
    become wetter in summer, and some inland areas
    may become wetter in autumn”

    So we have the CSIRO making bold predictions that Australia MAY get wetter or it MAY get drier or it MAY do no such thing and all this that MAY happen is all caused by……..you guessed it CO2.

    ” Contributing to these climate changes is an increase
    in carbon dioxide concentration from about 350 parts
    per million (ppm) in 1990 to 430–455 ppm by 2030,
    and 525–705 ppm by 2070″

    So now the CSIRO after categorically stating that it MAY get wetter or it MAY get drier claim with absolute certainty that CO2 levels WILL increase by 80 to 105 PPM in 20 years time.

    Now you MAY detect i hint of sarcasm in this post DavidR and that is probably because i read the disclaimer at the bottom of the article which i have reproduced here for all to read.

    Disclaimer

    The impact assessments summarized here are based on
    results from computer models that involve simplifications of
    real physical processes that are not fully understood.
    Accordingly, no responsibility will be accepted by CSIRO for
    the accuracy of the assessments inferred from this brochure
    or for any person’s interpretations, deductions, conclusions
    or actions in reliance on this information.

    So in other words the CSIRO have no idea what they are talking about and just so they dont get sued (by people dying in floods)they tell you so.

    Now remind me again DavidR which experts predicted it was to hot/cold/drought…..no wait wet.

    DO you understand now why i called you a moron?


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    brc

    @DavidR – holy smokes man, you’re shameless. You contradict yourself in the same comment thread and talk as though we can’t scroll up and read your prior statements.

    Here’s your direct quote from 160, again:
    “As I pointed out @43, most of Queensland has just had its wettest month and year on record”

    You have the temerity to pretend as though you said ‘a large percentage’ when in reality you said ‘most’. Here’s the quote from comment 171:
    “As I said a large proportion of the state, (25% is a large proportion) had record rainfall, most of the rest was in the top 10%. ”
    Now round my parts, 25% or even 30% is not most. The two are not synonyms in any definition of the language I speak. When my significant other steals most of the doona on a cold night, she hasn’t got 25% of it, she’s got more like 75% (and won’t give it back).

    And then this screamer ‘As the hypothesis that increased CO2 is the cause of global warming is now widely accepted, it is becoming the null hypothesis’

    Folks, we’re dealing with a truly brainwashed individual here. You can’t ‘become the null hypothesis’. Voting isn’t how science moves forwards. Proving hypotheses is how science moves forwards. Consensus doesn’t mean a hill of beans. If consensus science were the way things were done, we’d still be dealing with phlogiston and the luminiforous ether, and germ theory would still be something espoused only by crackpots who insist on washing their hands.

    And then you follow up with ‘there is no necessity for achieving some particular statistical level’. I am in open-jawed disbelief that someone would post this. You really must not understand what is going on here, and just posting talking points found somewhere else. Have a read up on scientific hypothesis and the meaning of the 95% confidence level.

    The hypotheses is not widely accepted. That’s a talking point from an Al Gore video or Greenpeace leaflet. Only the truly closed mind believes that there is widespread consensus. There’s not even consensus among those who believe in GHG-caused warming as to how much it will cause. You don’t accept the hypothesis because ‘no alternative theory stacks up’. If you were educated in this country, your grade 9 science teacher needs a good kick in the pants for failing to educate you properly. The null hypothesis is that the observed effect is not due to the theory but some other unknown cause. Or in this case, natural variability from cause or causes unknown or not properly understood. Accepting an explanation because of no better alternatives is the domain of religions and miracles, not scientific endeavour. The true scientist has the guts to say ‘well, I really don’t know why, but my theory appears to be wrong’. Bludgeoning the data and engaging in PR to prove a theory is definitively not the way forwards.

    As for the IPCC – you’re right, I’ll never believe much of what comes out of it. It’s a political committee, set up with the founding charter of proving a scientific theory correct. The confirmation bias in their science is in their job description. It would be surprising if they came up with a different result. Indeed, those scientists who did were summarily removed from the panel in case they caused trouble again by doing reckless things like adding disclaimers or advising caution on taking the results as stated fact.

    Here it is : direct from the ipcc website. The IPCC was set up by the UNEP and WMO to assess ‘the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change’.

    Note that it wasn’t “to investigate causes of climate change” it was to confirm the theory and feed governments information that confirmed the theory. Which they have done admirably, because if there is one thing that civil servants do best, it’s to follow rules in triplicate.

    It’s about as unbiased as the scientific committees set up by tobacco companies to prove there is no link between cigarettes and lung cancer. I’m sure you’ve scoffed at these people in the past, not realising the IPCC is just a government sponsored version of the same thing. So, if you think by not agreeing with the IPCC that I’m a filthy denier, I wear the label with pride. I couldn’t care less if the IPCC proclaimed there was 110% proof because I can safely ignore everything they say because of the bias that is built into their charter. I’m sure there’s some good science in there, but the summary and projections eminating from it are all, to say politely, a fresh pile of bovine male twice-digested grass.

    I do feel sorry for people like you. You honestly think that all national governments, power brokers and money chasers are working in your best interest as a citizen of a rich western nation with a high standard of living.

    But let’s not get sidetracked. We’re still waiting on proof that co2 emissions caused the flooding. And please read the linked Queensland govt reports in the comments above on the affects of climate change on QLD, and tell us how many times ‘flooding’ was mentioned.


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    Craigo

    Treeman – re 144 – Just an observation:

    Where does the difference go…up in the air?

    Exactly! Up into the air space that now becomes flood storage! Any restriction in the river which causes water levels to rise effectivly becomes temporary storage mitigating the peak flood level downstream. Total flow through the system may not change but the duration will. Local flooding upstream will mitigate flood levels downstream. So a bit of breaking out of the river banks is always a bit of a good thing … to a point.

    The late December flood in the Burnett river gives a good albeit exagerated example of this. The river gauge at Mt Lawless peaked at just under 10000 cumecs. The gauge downstream at Figtree barely touched 4000 cumecs but did so for a longer time. (DERM records now in the history section) The resulting flood in Bundaberg was a lower but longer flood. Where did the water go? It went into temporary flood storage in Paradise Dam. Paradise Dam has an uncontrolled ogee spillway which was already spilling and there is no gate structure to hold the water, just the restriction of the width of the spillway so water level went up putting water into temporary storage and then level went down releasing the stored water over a longer duration. That is mitigation at it finest.

    Another question I have is what was the effect of the increased hydraulic gradient? BOM don’t have the tailwater data (Wivenhoe Tw) currently available but a google cache search suggests it rose from 27.8m on the 06/01 to Brisbane R at Wivenhoe Dam TW # 44.8m rising 12:56 PM TUE 11/01/11 which would have an effect on the speed of the water and time for the peak to move downstream so the 36 hour duration being touted about may not reflect the hightened flows or coincident downstream peak creek flows.


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    wes george

    This is the best blog discussion about the Queensland flood on the Internet. Comment 177 reminds me of why Ian Mott is my hero. Such honesty hasn’t existed in print since, well, ever, maybe. Treeman, Craigo, Crakar, et al. Very informative. You can bet there are more than a few journos lurking here.

    Most shocking is Barry Woods’ note @ 128: Germaine Greer, expat Aussie uber-idiot, actually writes a sane analysis of Australian east coast flooding although all she has to work with are vestigial pre-psychedelic memories from the 1950′s? foie gras! Now lead me to the slaughter.


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    Treeman

    Craigo

    BOM only keeps the data up for six days so I’ve archived the 10/1 to 14/1 dam wall graph along with Linville, Savages crossing Moggill and Jindalee. Can’t post the image here but water level at Wivenhoe wall was at 74M or better from 2PM Tuesday 11th to 6AM Friday 14th January. It got to just under 75M. There is a dip around 2PM Tuesday until just before midnight when it starts to go up again.

    6AM Tuesday was the turning point when all the stations below Wyvenhoe started to show increased rates of rise with Moggill a little later. The heaviest falls were Monday and Tuesday, and this coincided exactly with SEQW increased release from Wivenhoe. On Wednesday afternoon a team was measuring the speed of the water at Jindalee Bridge and it was 3M/sec.

    I’d been watching the rise since Monday morning and started measuring it Tuesday 2PM when Jindalee was at around 7M. The rate of rise I measured at Mandalay and Jindalee was 28-35cm/hr until dark. It dropped to around 20cm per hour in the morning. I’s hard to say how much the speed went up but at 3M/sec the 36 hour figure stacks up when you measure the distance.


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    wes george

    John Watts @ 22 accurately describes the problems of Toowoomba, a town I’m familiar with.

    Drought and over-development along a usually dry creek bed combined with Greenie prophecies of endless drought due to AGW to set the town up for a catastrophe that in perfect 20-20 hindsight was bound to happen. The same delusional mindset influenced the poor management of Wivenhoe. The BOM and CSIRO forecast decades of much reduced rainfall in SE Queensland due to AGW. The Science Is Settled… Flannery told us the Gold Coast was unsustainable. We Have A Consensus!… Naturally the true believers in charge of Wivenhoe were loath to release every precious megalitre of liquid gold, until it was far too late.

    Repeating codswallop often enough doesn’t make it true, but it truly did influence a local polity to waste vital resources building a desal plant while canceling a few oh-so necessary catchment hydro-engineering projects.

    When pious Bob Brown sputters that Big Coal be held responsible for this catastrophe, what he really wants to say is that the mean, greedy Australian people are responsible for the floods because they use cheap electricity. He wants to raise the price of energy by 40% tomorrow to punish your greedy, grasping petty bourgeois lifestyle.

    Bob protests too much, methinks. All the evidence point towards the culpable party being those who preached that the climate had changed, that drought was the new normal, that dams should not be built, that we should waste money and energy building useless desalination plants rather than invest in catchment management and control systems. That we should huddle together on inner city river banks rather than in quarter acre suburb blocks on high ground. That we should build River Walks, pedestrian bridges, public spaces and restaurants well below the 1974 flood level, because It’s SUSTAINABLE Green living…These were the people who told us the Debate Is Over and to STFU.

    But don’t wait for the apologies to come pouring in. For the CSIRO and BOM to admit their GCMs are no better than a Nintendo sim world. For the Greens to admit their opposition to dam construction destroyed lives and cost our national economy billions of dollars. No, instead they’re too busy flipping prophecies of AGW-induced drought into AGW-induced floods hoping the public has the attention-span of a March fly. Nor is it the first time misguided Green policy has killed people, destroyed properties and jobs. Think pink bats.

    The new meme is “climate chaos”. Everything is caused by AGW. As imported from the Northern Hemisphere where massive cold fronts and record snowfalls are now hailed as evidence for CAGW. And as always, AGW is ultimately personal, caused by your sins against nature. Simply by being born in an advanced Western nation we are marked by the Green version of the Original Sin.

    It’s not clear yet whether the Greens imagine much of SE Queensland has now been baptized or punished.

    Ironically, the prophecies of climate catastrophe the Green demagogues preach turned out to be self-fulfilling. The Queensland floods are, at least in part, caused by the very water-management and environmental policies the Greens help create.

    Will the real Denialists please stand up?


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    Ian Mott

    Thanks Wes, it must be about time you had a good long chat with the most patient woman on the planet, my wife. It wouldn’t be fair to say she is in outright denial of your views on my intrinsic worth. Perhaps a “healthy scepticism” might be the bon mot of choice.

    The greens, having identified an ecological benefit from flood flows, have then ignorantly concluded that all portions of every flood must also be good. But as I was moved to ask as the 11th of 19 consecutive days of 1.1 million megalitres/day bowled through Rockhampton, “do they seriously think there was a single prawn left at the end of day one that hadn’t already got the message that it was time to go down to the sea?”

    In the twisted minds of the eco-zombies, pain and suffering for humans must, automatically, be good for the environment. And the more disasterous the impact on humans, the better it is for wildlife. That is the kind of sick perverts we are dealing with. They don’t see any drowned ‘Roos or aquatic species choked on mud. They are oblivious to population declines through either drough or flood so they regard the milder next season flows of irrigation water as nothing more than an “extraction” and the improved wildlife survival from it as some sort of illegitimate gain.


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    Richard C (NZ)

    brc #167

    Not even your activist scientist heroes are prepared to go out on a limb and definitively link the floods to warmer temperatures, couching their statements in ‘might’ and ‘could have’ and ‘possibly’.

    Nope. Here’s “is” “do expect” and “actually”

    “The warming of the whole planet is putting more water vapour into the atmosphere, so when these events occur now, we do expect more rain may well be coming out because of global warming,” Manning said.

    “Climate change is a lot more than changing the average temperature. It’s actually pushing into new weather patterns and they do consistently come up as more extreme, both directions, both wetter and drier.”

    Prof Manning, Victoria University’s Director of Climate Change Research.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/scientists-see-climate-change-link-floods-3997567

    I think Prof Manning may be operating the climate change equivalent of the greater fool theory.


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    brc

    @Richard, I’ll give Prof Manning an 8/10 for directness. For 10/10 replace:

    we do expect more rain may well be coming

    with

    we are sure more rain is coming

    They can never quite commit to a theory in case an embarrassing backtrack is needed.


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    DavidR

    ED: @171
    If you can’t accept comments you don’t like you may as well shut down the blog and just post your own nonsense.

    [The rules for posting are here http://joannenova.com.au/rules-legal/ Since you have been allowed to blab and blather for many days now, it would seem that this comment is misplaced.] ED

    When it comes to a RECORD rainfall (for a month or year) 25% is a large percentage. In 130 years of records, 25% of Queensland achieved their record rainfall for month and year last december / 2010. The state achieved its record rainfall ever. Yes its based on authoritative information as opposed to the blogworld claims of BRC.

    [when typing a reply to something others have said, it is a courtesy to cut, paste and b-quote so that others reading can follow along with the context. "record rainfall ever" is not correct. You could say many other things but as stated "ever" is a very long time. It is simply word-smithing propaganda and something you do a lot of.] ED

    If you are just going to snip out (censor) the bits you don’t like you may as well just as admit you can’t accept alternative positions.
    [ Wrong. If it were only up to me, I'd delete everything you post. The fact is the owner of this blog is VERY tolerant. If you get censored YOU deserve it. It is likely that your ego will find that hard to accept but I can look back at a whole bunch of your posts that were not censored. ] ED

    Argument from authority is perfectly acceptable if their is no alternative authority. [But what if it is only in your mind that this is true?] …..
    It is argument from authority where the authority has no expertise that is the issue as is so often the case with the posts of contrarians who demonstrate their lack of understanding of both science and statistics. . [ Wrong again. Realize where you are. This is not your blog, you are the guest, worse you are the contrarian to the prevailing thinking here. You have been permitted to speak you mind. You don't get to say "there is man caused global warming the proof is irrefutable" repeating ad naseum] ED

    You don’t seem to object to ad hominom attacks by your supporters but you do seem excessively sensitive to anyone pointing out that the ‘authorities’ your supporters rely on are unreliable. [Every one of them? wrong! Also see above comment on realizing where you are.] ED

    BRC seems to think that science doesn’t work by consensus, unfortunately it does. [ WRONG, politics and governance maybe] ED

    Even relativity and evolution are only accepted by consensus there is no “proof’ they are true.
    The fact is there is no significant evidence that they are wrong. [We rarely discuss either one here]

    The same applies to AGW, there is no reasonable alternative. [WRONG]

    There are however thousands of scientific studies of the real world that support that it is occurring. [and hundreds at least that refute and/or suggest reasonable alternatives]

    The models are just based on the measurements of real world phenomena. [The models are GIGO. If you rely only on empirical evidence, you have, at best, a very weak case for AGW.]

    [DavidR, you post here as though you have not or will not read and consider anything that counters your understanding of climate. For a while, just try posting without using these words:
    Robust,
    Well understood
    Consensus
    Unprecedented ] ED


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    DavidR

    BRC,
    The IPCC was set up to examine the evidence for global warming. Countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran are able to veto the comments of the panel. It took more than a decade to decide that human influences were ‘most likely’ the cause of global warming. It is considered a “conservative” body with middle of the road, at best, views. Many countries have appointed bureaucrats to the IPCC with the express purpose of watering down its statements.

    Despite this it has reached the conclusions it has. Your dismissal of its position is based on ignorance and your own unsupported opinions, not any scientific evidence you can bring to this discussion.


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    bananabender

    Wivenhoe and Somerset dams are still being maintained at the 100% level.

    It is a safe bet that Brisbane will flood again this wet season.


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    Ian Mott

    I don’t have a problem with maintaining the dams at 100% as a general target. But the problem is in this stupid mindset that whatever target is sacrosanct and that adjustments can only be made after the fact. What the hell happened to prediction and anticipation? If it is clear that a significant fall is on the way then it is equally, if not more, valid to release the expected volume before it arives so the resulting inflow returns the level to 100%.

    This is the breathtaking irony in all this. We have a dominant corporate creed that calls for huge sacrifices and global scale investment switches based on extreme, unweighted, long term climate projections but down at the dam face they have not the slightest room for action based on 12 to 48 hour predictions based on highly visible signals and easily measured and updated information. Go figure.

    Is there any better evidence that these people, Bimbolopithicus climatecretinensis, are beyond reason, that they are barking mad?


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    brc

    Look I have other blog discussions I want to move on to, but I’m just going to put in a couple of pointers for DavidR:
    - 25% might well be a large percentage, but that’s not what you said. You said ‘@43, most of Queensland has just had its wettest month and year on record’. It’s right here in the comments. Contradicting yourself without withdrawing your earlier statement is what exasperates people. You could have said ‘OK, so most of QLD didn’t have record rainfall, but at least 25% did’. But instead you tried to skip over your exaggeration and pretend you never said it.

    - The IPCC was indeed setup to examine the evidence for human-caused global warming. It wasn’t set up to decide whether the theory was true or not – the assumption was that the theory is true and they were going to collect evidence and report back on it. It doesn’t matter one jot what Saudi Arabia thinks, or what they block, or how long they decided to output some statement confirming the theory. The whole thing was set up with confirmation bias built in. It is the same as the committees setup by tobacco companies to prove no link to cancer from smoking. It’s right there, in black and white, in the IPCC documentation itself

    The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the
    scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of
    risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

    Source: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf
    So the IPCC has been doing it’s job exactly as prescribed. It is looking for evidence that human-caused global warming is real. If you can’t see the confirmation bias built into that there’s nothing more I can say. The only opinion I have of the IPCC is that it is biased. And that’s not unsupported, it’s part of their founding charter. I would say my position is the opposite of ignorance. Only the ignorant would accept everything it says at face value.

    You continually attack me and others in these comments for being ignorant of science, yet have stated these positions:
    - “there is no necessity for achieving some particular statistical level”
    - “the global warming hypothesis is becoming the null hypothesis”
    - “The same applies to AGW, there is no reasonable alternative”

    These are the statements of someone who doesn’t actually follow science, they follow dogma pushed under the auspices of science, like a greenpeace activist in a white coat. Consensus in science is the result of an accepted theory, not the proof of a theory. So while you might claim there is consensus of a position, that in itself is not proof in the correctness of a theory. There is a difference, but I’m not surprised that many AGW don’t understand it, given they frequently fall victim to being unable to separate causation and correlation.

    ‘This time it is different, we can no longer use the old rules’ – from stock market bubbles to foolish military adventures, this is the rallying call of everyone who insists on ignoring the lessons of history and paying the eventual price.

    Coming here and complaining about censorship is the sign of someone who just wants to make trouble rather than contribute. You could have brought in information about QLD rainfall into the discussion thoughtfully and politely. Instead you rush in, call everyone ignorant, throw wild claims and exaggerations around and then complain about being corrected and censored. Think about that one in a quiet moment.


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    wes george

    DavidR, pathetic…

    “BRC seems to think that science doesn’t work by consensus, unfortunately it does..”

    BZZZT. Epic Fail, Dave. Please enroll in Philosophy of Science 101 before revealing your lack of tertiary education, it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient for us to have to tutor you publicly.

    “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.

    In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science.

    If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus.”

    —Michael Crichton, A Caltech Lecture

    http://www.s8int.com/crichton.html


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    wes george

    Dave, Dave, Dave,

    Thanks for playing. The statement below is an automatic GAME OVER.

    “Argument from authority is perfectly acceptable if their (sic) is no alternative authority.”

    Sorry, mate but Argument from Authority is what’s called a logical fallacy. Not that you traffic in logic much, obviously. Nevertheless, when one is at least pretending to be engaging in a rational discourse it’s polite to at least pay homage to the rules of logic by NOT loudly proclaiming you plan to use basic logical fallacies as a rhetorical device.

    An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:

    Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
    Person A makes claim C about subject S.
    Therefore, C is true.

    But don’t stop with appeal to authority, there are many other fine logical fallacies you might wish to employ in your arguments:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/index.html#index

    LOL ;-)


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    crakar24

    This post was inspired by the latest work by DavidR (188).

    Firstly a recap of the ineptitude shown by this person.

    1) 25% is a majority
    2) Science is done by consensus (probably why he thinks 25% is a majority)
    3) The IPCC was setup to decide whether CAGW AKA Global warming, climate change and climate disruption is real or not.
    4) Despite the fact that he has been shown the CSIRO predictions complete with disclaimer that Australia will recieve less rain he still maintains the Bob Brown theory that the floods have been made even more extreme due to AGW.
    5) Despite the fact that IF AGW was indeed causing SST to rise in Australian waters thus causing stronger La Ninas this would mean we will get weaker El Ninos and as a consequence we will get less droughts he still maintains the ever present omni potent force of CO2 WILL cause droughts AND floods.

    Now i amy have missed a few more glaring uneducated clap trap and if i have i do apologise DavidR but i am intrigued as to whom you look to for your spiritual enlightenment, i say spiritual enlightenment because you have not based your opinions on evidence and as we all know the only difference between science and religion is evidence after all.

    So now onto your latest dribble, in post 188 you said among other things “Many countries have appointed bureaucrats to the IPCC with the express purpose of watering down its statements.

    Despite this it has reached the conclusions it has. Your dismissal of its position is based on ignorance and your own unsupported opinions, not any scientific evidence you can bring to this discussion.”

    By the way i suspect you do not respond to my posts because i called you a moron, thats OK because when i reply to you it is not for your eyes to see but others who no doubt read but do not post.

    So in response to the above statement made by you i offer these two links

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Social/IPCC-Santer.htm

    This link gives you the background info on how Ben Santer (yes the same Santer who works for the team and the same Santer that prefers to measure temp with a wind gauge rather than a thermometer) made several changes to Chapter of 8 of the 1995 IPCC report AFTER ALL THE SCIENTISTS HAD SIGNED OFF ON THE CHAPTER.

    This link is embedded in the first link but i will also give it here, this takes you to a page which shows all the changes made by Santer without consent of the scientists.

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Social/IPCC-95-Ch8.htm

    So i have a few questions for you Moron,

    1) If Many countries have appointed bureaucrats to the IPCC with the express purpose of watering down its statements where were they when scientific fraud was being conducted?

    2) My dismissal of its position is not based on ignorance nor my own unsupported opinions but on the scientific fraud conducted by the IPCC itself.

    You speak much about scientific evidence will it ever dawn on you this is one area the IPCC are sadly lacking?


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    wes george

    David R Babble:

    “There are however thousands of scientific studies of the real world that support that it (AGW) is occurring…”

    Ah, Dave’s collectivist faith in consensus again. That’s how Survivor works when they vote someone off the island. Dave confuses reality with reality Tee Vee. Put Down The Remote, Dave, get off the couch and pick up the phone, dial your local council and tell the nice lady you want to enroll in an adult literacy course.

    * * *

    Dave’s World of Logic: If most people believe something then it must be true. Right? Of course! Especially if certifiable experts tell us it’s the latest intellectual fashion accessory!

    For example, the world was flat 1,000 years ago because only a handful of “denialists” believed it could be any thing other than flat.

    Now the Earth is spherical because that’s what most people believe today. Right Dave?

    Well, no. In fact, the Earth would be spherical even if there were no sentient beings on the planet to form a consensus about it one way or the other…

    Physical Reality actually exists independent of whether it is observed or not. Therefore, it matters little that “thousands of scientific studies” support AGW. Those studies have no alchemical powers to transmogrify reality in their image.

    All it takes is a single, repeatable, confirmable observation that the AGW hypothesis can not answer to in order to falsify the hypothesis. And that has happened now, dozens of times over.

    I know, I know, the life of a scientific hypothesis totally sucks. It’s just not fair. AGW had so much going for it. So many cool friends on Facebook! Then one jerky little empirical fact comes along and BANG it’s junk science in the rubbish bin of history??? All crumpled up lying there next to Phrenology, Piltdown, Eugenics and various medieval models of the universe. Holy crap, who’s next? Marxist Stalinism? Homeopathic Medicine? Peace Studies???

    Well, Dave, I feel your befuddlement, mate. I really do. The Scientific Method is totally brutal, dude.

    Come back and visit us when you finish that Philosophy of Science 101 unit.

    cheers,

    :-)


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    tempterrain

    The lessons are simple enough. Governments should:
    1) Commission scientific reports on all types of environmental dangers.
    2) Read and understand them.
    3) Act on them


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    pat

    ian mott -
    robertson is fairly new in the position, so may not be in the frame so to speak, but it would be good if someone could access the operating manual and post it online.

    were the operating manual’s instructins re dam levels changed in recent years? if so, what were they previously?

    meanwhile, please lower the water storage level in wivenhoe way below 100% as we will not be needing that water and there is a need to be prepared just in case La Nina has another surprise for us this rainy season.


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    pat

    worth a read:

    17 Jan: continentalnews.net: Alan Metcalfe: Poor Insurance and Dam Mismanagement of Brisbane Floods
    Thousands find that they are not adequately insured while experts say that the government’s mismanagement of the Dam caused the flood
    In our own case, where we live on an estate managed by a Body Corporate, we have been now advised that the Body Corporate’s Insurance Policies did not cover flood damage, because “the cost was too high…
    Hydrology and engineering experts are saying that it is clear that the flooding occurred because of the release from the dam. They say that the flooding Bremer River, which cuts through Ipswich and meets the Brisbane River to the west of where we live at Goodna, was not nearly enough on its own to cause the devastating flooding of thousands of homes in the Brisbane River valley. The Government Inquiry will examine whether the operators at Wivenhoe Dam retained water in the dam’s flood compartment for too long, forcing a drastic release that compounded the flood instead of mitigating it.
    Insurance Shortcomings
    The Inquiry will also investigate the performance of private insurers after the flooding. This is where the State and Federal Governments will be under the most pressure to answer for why the State Capital and the State’s most populous and important region was left so poorly prepared…
    http://continentalnews.net/christian-news/poor-insurance-and-dam-mismanagement-of-brisbane-floods-5228.html


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    pat

    now we are getting somewhere. however, my point is we do not need all that water supply now or in maybe the next 5 years or more.
    one, we’re on water restrictions
    two, water has been privatised and the cost is prohibitive to many.
    anyway, the 60:40 ratio mention would seem to explain why so many older queenslanders have told me the water storage should never go above 40%.
    we do need to see the operating manual and find out if it has changed in recent years (perhaps due to the belief in CAGW):

    20 Jan: News.com.au: Steven Wardill: Debate heats up as expert calls for dam levels to drop
    Andrew Dragun, an adjunct professor for Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute, yesterday said the proportion of Wivenhoe’s capacity reserved for flood mitigation should have been expanded, particularly ahead of the current, widely predicted severe wet season.
    Prof Dragun said the water capacity diverted for flood mitigation could have been easily replaced by the multibillion-dollar desalination and recycling plants that now sit idle…
    Retired flood forecaster Geoff Heatherwick said that the dam operators, Seqwater, could not have increased the capacity reserved for flood mitigation without a change of legislation.
    “No one in that operating group could have made the sorts of changes that some of these people coming out of the woodwork are suggesting,” he said.
    As debate raged over whether dam operators contributed to the disaster by failing to heed weather warnings, Premier Anna Bligh insisted they followed the rules.
    “The people who operated the dam did everything they could to operate it in accordance with all the requirements,” she told Sky News.
    However, Ms Bligh said if the rules governing the dam’s operation needed to be amended then this would be considered…
    The 60:40 flood mitigation to water supply ratio was set when there were plans to build the Wolffdene dam as an alternative source but this was scrapped by the Goss government after public pressure…
    http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/floodrelief/debate-heats-up-as-expert-calls-for-dam-levels-to-drop/story-fn7ik2te-1225991445546


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    pat

    p.s. i do realise the 40% for water storage meant 40% of total capacity (including flood mitigation capacity).


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    pat

    apologies for so many posts, but:

    20 Jan: Australian: Hedley Thomas: Engineer warned of danger from Wivenhoe dam
    BRISBANE City Council’s top flood engineer recommended a decade ago that Wivenhoe Dam be operated differently to ensure a much larger buffer against flooding, documents obtained under Freedom of Information show.
    Engineer Ken Morris warned in an internal report, Brisbane River Flooding, that the existing and longstanding Queensland government policy of operating the dam at full supply level meant its capacity to mitigate floods was significantly compromised.
    Mr Morris, the council’s principal engineer for flood management, also warned a decade ago that the council’s development controls meant thousands of residents were unaware they would be severely hit by floods during rainfall events that were much smaller than those predicted to occur once in 100 years, despite assurances that their properties would not be affected…
    *****The commission of inquiry’s dam expert, Phil Cummins, has pledged that the inquiry will examine the public policy settings that required the dam to be operated at 100 per cent of its capacity for urban supply.
    The dam’s operation at 100 per cent continues today despite the extreme rainfall and flooding in Queensland in recent months, the Bureau of Meteorology’s warnings last year of intense rain with a confirmed new La Nina weather phase after years of drought-causing El Nino, and the completion of the state’s multi-billion-dollar drought-proofing Water Grid.
    Mr Morris, who did not return calls yesterday while directing flood recovery operations in the devastated suburbs of Brisbane, has noted in official reports before the Water Grid was established that Wivenhoe Dam could be comfortably operated below its full supply level.
    Mr Morris suggested that operating Wivenhoe at 75 per cent and using the balance as additional flood storage would make a significant difference to the level in the Brisbane River during any flooding…
    “It only takes 40mm of rainfall runoff to fill 25 per cent of the storage, so even if the dam was drawn down it would soon recover and most likely recover before the beginning of a one-in-100-year event.”…
    *****Pressure on Wivenhoe Dam to run at 100 per cent was reinforced six weeks ago, despite the onset of the wet season, when the Queensland government announced new cost-saving policies, including putting the new Tugun desalination plant on standby, saving $10 million a year.
    The policies meant that Wivenhoe Dam continued to run at 100 per cent full supply (about 1.15 million megalitres), leaving its flood storage compartment of about 1.45 million megalitres to handle any extreme rainfall events.
    Weeks after cabinet and disaster management groups were briefed by the Bureau of Meteorology to expect highly unusual rainfall in the 2011 wet season, Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser and Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson announced “major reforms to the southeast Queensland water supply grid to help reduce rising household water bills”.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/queensland-floods/engineer-warned-of-danger-from-wivenhoe-dam/story-fn7iwx3v-1225991369355

    amazing. they do mention in the article that toowoomba and the lockyer valley are a separate matter. the sooner the pipes at east creek are investigated and remedied, if necessary, the better.


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    brc

    pat:
    January 20th, 2011 at 4:56 pm
    p.s. i do realise the 40% for water storage meant 40% of total capacity (including flood mitigation capacity).

    Right, so they mean ~80% of the storage capacity be maintained, leaving 120% more for flood mitigation.

    To me it makes sense given we aren’t out of the woods yet.

    With regards to the insurance industry- it’s going to be tough luck for those without insurance, there’s no way the government will retrospectively modify policies. If anything it might pay out some cash to those without insurance but that’s a dangerous moral hazard precedent to set.

    I think the best way forwards is to go the Suncorp route and force all household insurance policies to cover flood. The problem with flood insurance is that people who live on hills don’t buy it because they don’t need it, and people who live near the river don’t buy it because it’s too expensive. By adding it to all policies you create a larger pool and thus lower the need for extra pricing on high risks. You could argue that people on hills are unfairly subsidising the people who live on flood plains, or you could argue that everyone ends up paying some way or another anyway.

    Or, alternatively, the government could create a rates-attached flood premium along the lines of the MAIC and the third-party personal injury insurance attached to vehicle registration. All insurers could participate and you could nominate your insurer like you do with the vehicle registration. In fact this could be expanded to cover all disaster insurance, thereby reducing the cost of actual home and contents insurance down to individual risks like fire, burglary and accidental damage rather than storms, floods, earthquakes and bushfires. Just a random thought, anyway. The TP personal injury schemes in this country means that nobody hurt in a motor accident goes untreated through lack of funds, even if the driver was breaking the law. It’s a far superior system to the mish-mash people in places like the USA have to wade through, where getting hit by a uninsured driver can leave you bankrupt through medical bills.


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    Treeman

    Just a quick note for David R

    An embarrassing blip on the AGW consensus in Europe follows something more permanent in the US

    The conclusions the IPCC so venerated by you and your ilk have resulted in policy initiatives across the world that have been utterly corrupted.

    A classic case in question is the biggest environmental scandal in history

    Even the helmsman at IPCC has been dabbling


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    wes george

    Ian @ 190:

    This is the breathtaking irony in all this. We have a dominant corporate creed that calls for huge sacrifices and global scale investment switches based on extreme, unweighted, long term climate projections but down at the dam face they have not the slightest room for action based on 12 to 48 hour predictions based on highly visible signals and easily measured and updated information. Go figure.

    Is there any better evidence that these people, Bimbolopithicus climatecretinensis, are beyond reason, that they are barking mad?

    More evidence that it’s not about the science.


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    DavidR

    Rather than blathering on why doesn’t someone provide ‘evidence’. 25% of Queensland achieving record rainfall in a month of a year is a significant proportion, not ‘most’ and I apologise for that inaccuracy, however the state as whole achieved a record rainfall and I made my position clear at post @43

    The argument from authority is fallacious if, and only if, the authority does not have expertise. GISS NCDC, HAdley, UAH, RSS and NCIDC have expertise, not authority. The claim that my arguments are from authority are fallacious. My arguments are solely from expertise. Unlike yours. The enjoyable part of this debate is investigating the arguments put up by my opponents. Unfortunately your arguments are unsupported and therefore not sustained when under investigation.

    Wes,
    I do not believe that belief creates truth, I believe that, if the vast majority of people following the appropriate methodology produce evidence for a position and there is little or no contradictory evidence then only a charlatan or liar refuses to acknowledge the evidence. The evidence for global warming is overwhelmingly based on observation of the environment by scientists. The human contribution is based on a physical understanding of the action of CO2 in the atmosphere. Belief has nothing to do with it, unless you claim that acknowledging the evidence is belief while denying it is something superior.

    Wes – No knowledable person a thousand years ago believed the world was flat. That was just the ignorant contrarians. Scientists knew the worlds circumference was ~24000 miles. Columbus argued that it was only ~18000 and he got lucky and discovered America. If he hadn’t got lucky he and his crew would have died.

    Wes – thanks for the reference to fallacious arguments. Having been accused of making arguments from authority rather than expertise I can now respond to all arguments based on their logical incompetence rather than bothering with refuting the evidence.

    Despite almost 2 years of of following contrarians with blogworld ‘evidence’ I have yet to see any evidence that meets any basic standards of scientific analysis.

    Craker -in answer to your questions
    1. There was no scientific fraud in the IPCC report. Mistakes are not fraud. Scientific fraud is severely punished and leads to the end of a scientific career. Blogworld allegations are not the same as independent assessments. If you believe there was fraud present evidence. If there was no fraud your second question is irrelevant.

    Ed @ 187.
    So sorry, please preface all my comments with ‘according to the authoritative records’. Oh sorry that’s right you don’t like arguments from authority.
    The owner of this blog is not tolerant I am in moderation because she doesn’t like the term denier. So I use the word contrarian, which is technically more correct, to keep her happy.

    Your posters are welcome to appeal to alternative authorities but they don’t, they appeal to blogworld nonsense. I am happy to consider the ‘evidence’ they present but if it is grossly unscientific I am happy to dismiss it on methodological grounds alone.

    You accept my posts as long as you choose to. I will use arguments based on scientific evidence, and I will dismiss arguments which are not based on scientific evidence. As I said if you want a debate rather than sycophancy then you have to accept posts that disagree with you.

    I have yet to see a scientifically reliable source posted by your acolytes, but happy to look at any evidence they provide. That’s why I visit.

    Science works by consensus!!! If you don’t know that then you don’t know science. Einstein provided mathematical proofs but his views were accepted by consensus not proof. In science ‘a proof’ is just a supporting argument.

    ED I will consider any ‘evidence’ presented, however I will dismiss any evidence that provides not a modicum of scientific methodology instantaneously. References to unsourced graphs from unknown articles, , or posts from other blogs, are little more than a waste of my time and I am no longer prepared to chase those rabbits down there rabbit holes.

    In short Ed you can put up with the alternative views that keep the blog interesting or you can retreat into the unsubstantiated group think that seems to dominate your posts.


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    BobC

    DavidR:
    The argument from authority is fallacious if, and only if, the authority does not have expertise.

    Argument from authority is not a logical argument at all — it is simply a claim that someone else is right because of their status (in your eyes) as an expert.

    If you would like to name your chosen experts and claim that they are infallible, that is a proposition that can be tested — it can’t be proven, but is at least susceptible to falsification.

    Your “experts” have been caught manipulating data, and have made many predictions that have proven false (the last 3 winters in the UK, for example). Here is a graph of unadjusted temperature data (and here the site) which shows just how much the manipulation of data is relied on to “prove” any global warming over the last century.


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    Treeman

    SEQW leakgate says it all.

    L

    LEAKED email communications from a Wivenhoe Dam engineering officer underline concerns that the Brisbane River flood was mostly caused by massive releases from the dam after it had held on to water too long over a crucial 72 hours before the severe rainfall that hit the region last week………….The emails, which become increasingly urgent in tone as the situation became critical as the dam’s levels rise rapidly, were provided to The Australian by a source who said the stream of data had convinced him the river flood of Brisbane could have been largely avoided if the dam’s operators had taken action much earlier…………….The emails from engineering officer Graham Keegan, of SEQWater, which operates the Queensland government-owned dam, were sent to notify stakeholders about dam strategies, including release rates and likely impacts. Mr Keegan, who was receiving advice from the Flood Operations Centre at the dam, advises in an early email at 8.26pm on Saturday, January 8, that the releases of water that night were 1250 cubic metres per second (cumecs) and were to be kept to a “maximum of 1600″ at mid-Brisbane River…………………..The same email notes awareness of the worsening weather: “Forecast for the next 4 days is for significant rainfall across SE QLD. Possible scenarios include a reduction in release rate to accommodate potential flooding in the Bremer River; however they also include larger releases from Wivenhoe Dam if heavy rainfall strikes our catchments. Releases may then extend to the week-end or later.” By 8.30pm on Sunday, Mr Keegan’s email alert advises the plan is to keep releases from the dam to 1400 cumecs “for the next 24 hours if possible”………………”We may reduce the release as Lockyer Creek flooding increases,” he says.

    A senior engineer independent of Wivenhoe Dam, Michael O’Brien, whose study of SEQWater and Bureau of Meteorology data at Wivenhoe have led him to conclude that the Brisbane flood should not have happened, said the details in more than 20 emails leaked yesterday had confirmed his view. “They were trying to keep country road crossings and low-level bridges open and may have forgotten that the big picture is the protection of Brisbane,” he said.

    SEQWater Grid chief executive Barry Dennien, who has praised the operators of the dam for having prevented what he said would have been a larger flood, has declined to answer The Australian’s questions since Premier Anna Bligh called a commission of inquiry, tasked with investigating the dam’s release strategies and if the flood was avoidable.

    Oh what a wonderful thing is the convention of sub judice. By the time the enquiry comes around the populace will have forgotten what Dennien can’t or won’t say now!

    David R
    You have not challenged any of my points……are you in denial?


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    BobC

    DavidR: (@ 187)
    January 19th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Argument from authority is perfectly acceptable if their is no alternative authority.
    It is argument from authority where the authority has no expertise that is the issue as is so often the case with the posts of contrarians who demonstrate their lack of understanding of both science and statistics.

    In light of that comment DavidR, this is an interesting analysis of one of your “experts” by theorist Lubos Motl.

    You sure can pick ‘em.
    Why don’t you grace us with your defense of Trenberth? Let me suggest a direction:
    “Although Motl is an accomplished physicist, he is not a Climate Scientist. Therefore, his showing that Trenberth is illogical, irrational, and just plain crazy doesn’t count — all Climate Scientists are like that!”


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    BobC

    Isn’t a definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result?

    How many times will DavidR keep pushing his definition of “Argument from Authority” before he realizes that we aren’t buying it? Just wondering.


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    BobC

    DavidR: Science works by consensus!!! If you don’t know that then you don’t know science.

    Wow! So that explains why all my science classes focused on opinion polls, instead of tedious analysis ;-) What were yours like? (Assuming you have taken any.)

    I will consider any ‘evidence’ presented, however I will dismiss any evidence that provides not a modicum of scientific methodology instantaneously. References to unsourced graphs from unknown articles, , or posts from other blogs, are little more than a waste of my time and I am no longer prepared to chase those rabbits down there rabbit holes.

    From what I know of you, David, I would never suggest you waste your time on anything that might require you to think and reason. Stick with whatever the “experts” tell you, and save mental effort. (I presume you are never asked to review technical and scientific papers — it would be difficult to do, if you need an expert’s opinion before you can decide what to think.)


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    BobC

    DavidR:
    In short Ed you can put up with the alternative views that keep the blog interesting or you can retreat into the unsubstantiated group think that seems to dominate your posts.

    You’re misunderstanding the Editor. She keeps asking you to post something interesting, but you just keep repeating the same old canard:
    “My authorities good! Your authorities bad! Science is about consensus, not evidence! So There!”


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    crakar24

    David R in 205 responded to my post about IPCC fraud of the scientific process by saying:

    Craker -in answer to your questions
    1. There was no scientific fraud in the IPCC report. Mistakes are not fraud. Scientific fraud is severely punished and leads to the end of a scientific career. Blogworld allegations are not the same as independent assessments. If you believe there was fraud present evidence. If there was no fraud your second question is irrelevant.

    I will make the assumption that you read both links i provided and therefore you have totally misunderstood what was said so please allow to give you a walk through what happened in laymans terms.

    Firstly in each IPCC report there is a chapter dedicated to discussing the effects if any of MMCO2 on the climate. In the 1995 report as for the following 3 a group of scientists who are experts in this field sit down and evaluate all the available evidence to see whether there is a AGW signal in the climate data.

    These scientists look at the evidence and then all contribute to the wording of the chapter, once all scientists are in agreement all the scientists sign off on the chapter. In this particular case all the scientists came to the agreement that there was no measurable effect on climate from MMCO2. Of course there were caveats which stated things like “lack of understandig of the climate” and “The models lack the sophistication to actually model the climate” as shortcommings but in the end they could not show that CO2 was in fact causing global warming.

    The scientists then packed their bags and went home, then Santer at the request of a higher authority re wrote parts of the report to give the impression that the scientists involved in writing the report actually thought MMCO2 was having an effect on the climate and this effect could be measured. This alteration was made without their knowledge and therefore consent.

    Now back to your statement DavidR, this was not a mistake, this report was reworded with the intention of changing the reports findings without the express permission of the authors, this my friend constitutes scientific fraud in any sense of the word.

    I have present evidence of fraud whether you choose to see it or not is up to you.


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    brc

    I’d almost agree that you might not call the actions of Santer w/regard to the IPPC findings scientific fraud.

    It’s a far more serious fraud than that. Scientific fraud is for the likes of the MMR Vaccine fraudster – I’m not going to honor him by using his name. This is a far higher, treasonous type of fraud. The fraud was done for political reasons, not scientific reasons.

    Either way, it’s one of the earliest but by no means the only stain on the tattered IPCC reputation. In future years I can confidently predict the IPCC name will become a meme for useless, ineffectual, pointless gigantic committees that achieve nothing except waste time and money. In the same way the ‘league of nations’ is seen as mostly ineffectual, so shall be the history of the IPCC.

    Don’t believe me? Name one country where the IPCC has improved either the environment or the standard of living. Just one. Tax havens stashed with ill-gotten gains don’t count. Even if you do come up with one country, I’ll give you 5 where they have made things worse with all this nonsense. Australia, for example, where the output from the IPCC has been used to drastically alter the future of infrastructure, wasting money on pointless wind farms and desalination plants, away from dams and power stations. Choking off farming by preventing land clearing and throwing both irrigation and large-scale power generation into uncertainty. From wasted money on solar rebates to dead insulation installers, it all leads back to politicians resting on the ‘authority’ of the IPCC to make their decisions. And it’s all just a big hill of lies, each one piled precariously on top of the other. From Santer altering the reports, to the diktat that the MWP had to go, the creation of the hockey stick from dubious statistical methods to the absolute BS of the himalayas melting to dying frog species and spreading malaria, rising sea levels to never-ending Australian droughts. It’s all a pile of rubbish designed to propel people into power and funnel money into people’s pockets, whether they be investment banks looking for trading profits, tinpot dictators looking for cash, politicians looking for donations or scientists looking for grant money and book sales, they’re all in on it.

    If you’ve detected that this thing really [snip]s me off, then I have made my point.


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    crakar24

    BRC,

    You forgot the latest fiasco.

    Driven by green ideology they decided it would be a good idea to capture all that nasty CO2 from coal power plants and pump it into an emptying oil reserve. The plan was they could kill two birds with one stone by getting rid of the CO2 and also getting access to the last remnants of oil which they normally would not be able to.

    Well it sort of worked, they got the oil but all the CO2 is seeping up out of the ground and i know what you are thinking the subsurface geology was not acceptable to trap the CO2 but in this case it was. The experts thought this was the perfect geology to do this type of thing.

    So the CC&S conglomerates need a rethink on how they can get their slice of the pie in this scam.


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    BobC

    Here is an interesting paper on the fraudulent “adjustments” done to the world-wide temperature records. (BTY: The paper sources all information — it comes from the official agencies.) This is just one international example — a single measurement station at the Kathmandu airport was given an adjustment that “created” a “warming trend” of 4 deg C/century from the raw data cooling trend of -1.5 deg C/century. And all this as the population of Kathmandu grew rapidly! Who knew that UHI could work to reduce the temperature of urban areas?

    DavidR: Just ignore this data — it’s not “certified” by Michael Mann so you can safely ignore it. Wouldn’t want to pollute yourself with heretical data — even if (perhaps especially if) it requires logical thought and an open mind.


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    pat

    brc -
    yes i now understand at some point the water storage capacity was meant to be maintained at 80% leaving 120% for flood mitigation.
    the 40% though is what all the older queenslands keep talking about and i wasn’t sure (and neither were they when i mentioned the total capacity) if they meant 40% of the water storage capacity or 40% of the 200+ capacity.
    what they didn’t understand was that the 60:40 ratio was scrapped anyway.
    because i lived abroad from early 70s til mix-90s, i had to catch up on all these post-74 flood developments when i returned.
    also funny to think how my parents would keep telling me over the decades that the qld “wet season” as we called it had gone missing. i experienced it when i got back. now, of course, we know all the wet we experienced growing up in brisbane was due to La Nina.

    ken stewart has posted on jo’s latest thread that minister robertson has said on ABC that the dam operator’s manual will be released today. hope it happens.


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    brc

    @pat I was always told tales of the QLD wet season as well. Times when supposedly 40 inches of rain fell in a summer ‘out west’ (wherever that was – old uncles tend to get woolly with their descriptions). A lot of older people told me of the dissappearing wet season – I had an elderly neighbour (she was pushing 90) who I helped out with some heavy lifting from time to time, and who paid me in carefully tended garden cuttings and flowers. From about 2005 onwards she started to believe what was on the TV (ie Flannery in a boat) because the wet season had gone forever and started talking about changing what plants she tended in the garden. Just like the English winter – when I lived there (early to mid 00′s) everyone told me the snow was gone for good, and the Dickens’ description of harsh snowy winters was a relic of the past. I don’t think anyone will be saying that again for a while.

    Seems climate cycles work just long enough for people to start doubting their instincts and developing fuzzy memories, and then swiftly punishes for not learning from history. Perhaps there is something to this Gaia theory after all -the vengeful earth mother God who waits until we’re all not paying attention and blindsides us to remind who is in charge. But the greenies are on the wrong track – it wouldn’t matter how many carbon indulgences were bought, or how much lifestyle was sacrificed, the retributions would still be as swift and indiscriminate. I can see how primitive cultures developed human sacrifice to try and stop the merciless teasing.

    As for Wivenhoe – the ‘only flood mitigation’ story went around thick and fast during the drought. I think it’s about time one of the news networks did a factual discussion of the history and operating of wivenhoe, minus spin and politics, and just concentrate on the facts. Or some type of fact sheet that can be quickly linked to stop blog discussions spiralling out of control.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Quoted by Treeman:

    By 8.30pm on Sunday, Mr Keegan’s email alert advises the plan is to keep releases from the dam to 1400 cumecs “for the next 24 hours if possible”………………”We may reduce the release as Lockyer Creek flooding increases,” he says.

    This is just astounding. The dams’ operators would have or should have known at that time from the upstream river gauges that a massive deluge was on the way. In spite of this and the fact the dams were already very high, they continued to let the dams get higher. This, combined with all the other failures leading up to it, is one of the biggest failures in Australian engineering history.


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    pat

    treeman -
    this may mean nothing, but someone emailed the following today:

    “just to let you know when I transferred banking yesterday the chap I spoke to told me his brother was at toowoomba driving down the road when all this water just pushed the road up he doesnt know where the water came from. but thinking of the underground bores and rivers it makes sense.”

    any comment?


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    pat

    the dam manual – any comments anyone?

    http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/water/regulation/flood-response/documents/manual-operational-procedures.pdf

    22 Jan: Australian: Hedley Thomas: Levels an admission of badly timed release
    RIVER height data measured every few minutes shows the operators of Wivenhoe Dam let its levels rise back above the height at which the spillway gates were raised a day earlier in a bid to urgently dump a huge volume of water that largely caused Brisbane’s flood.
    Engineers who are closely studying the data told The Weekend Australian it appeared SEQWater realised it had unnecessarily released too much water at the worst possible time in the late afternoon and early evening of Tuesday, January 11.
    The releases went to an unprecedented peak flow of up to 7500 cubic metres per second and caused the level in the dam to drop quickly on Tuesday…
    The level of the dam’s lake — which was about 74.5m before the urgent and biggest water dump started on January 11 — was permitted to steadily rise to be held steady at 74.85m the next day, after the water dump had dropped it down to about 74.2m…
    The release of Wivenhoe’s Food Mitigation Manual yesterday, with some parts blacked out for security reasons, shows that the procedures for operating the dam were not changed in spite of confirmation of a La Nina weather phenomenon, and warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology since September 2010 of a higher probability of extreme rainfall events.
    Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said the manual “in its current form was developed in 1992 and has had six revisions since this time, with the latest review taking place in 2009, and finalised in January 2010″.
    The last revision occurred months prior to the bureau’s confirmation and warnings that the drought had been broken by a particularly intense La Nina which was likely to bring exceptionally wet weather…
    Asked why the manual was not updated again after the confirmation of La Nina, Ms Bligh said: “My understanding is that the manual has operated in that way for quite a while and that is the operations they have been relying upon.
    “These are all matters for the commission of inquiry and I don’t intend to speculate on technical engineering questions that the inquiry has all the expertise required to answer.”
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/levels-an-admission-of-badly-timed-release/story-fn59niix-1225992596040


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    Treeman

    Pat

    I understand that the underground aquifer for Toowoomba is recharged from well west of Toowoomba and that the underground aquifer in the Lockyer is recharged by the creek systems in the valley. The Toowoomba aquifer is lovely clean and PH neutral water and the Lockyer can be quite salty and worse during drought.

    The Toowoomba Range is two lanes each way and the water that sheets off it during heavy rain goes into storm water drains, some of which feed gullies over which the road winds back and forth. It’s a pretty good bet that the water you describe as “pushing the road up” originated from the storm water drains and gullies. The road itself was the means for delivering flash flooding to Withcott.

    We are now ten days into the aftermath and my colleague an engineer of forty years experience is adamant that the Wivenhoe water caused the floods in Brisbane. The Australian sums up an avoidable disaster.

    Yesterday, Bligh said: “Was the dam operated in compliance with the operating manual and . . . is the operation manual appropriate for the circumstances? That is, did everybody operating it do what they were supposed to do and is the manual that operated the dam the appropriate one, given the circumstance that we face?

    “I want to make sure we are getting all the best possible advice and we are operating the dam in the best possible way.”

    The duck shoving is beginning in earnest now!


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    Treeman

    Pat

    Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said the manual “in its current form was developed in 1992 and has had six revisions since this time, with the latest review taking place in 2009, and finalised in January 2010″.
    The last revision occurred months prior to the bureau’s confirmation and warnings that the drought had been broken by a particularly intense La Nina which was likely to bring exceptionally wet weather…
    Asked why the manual was not updated again after the confirmation of La Nina, Ms Bligh said: “My understanding is that the manual has operated in that way for quite a while and that is the operations they have been relying upon.
    “These are all matters for the commission of inquiry and I don’t intend to speculate on technical engineering questions that the inquiry has all the expertise required to answer.”

    Six revisions since 1992 and the only specific dates Robinson mentions are 1992 and Jaunuary 2010.

    The enquiry was announced before the flood waters had gone down, effectively gagging bureaucrats and politicians from answering inconvenient questions as per the convention of sub judice relating to public enquiries. I use the word convention because technically sub judice (before the courts) is legally binding in court cases but has been extended by convention to include enquiries.

    What this means is the defense….Bligh and company can deliver up what they want to spin and fob off all inconvenient questions until the enquiry.
    BTW much of the residential development of Toowoomba was done by Clive Berghoffer while he was Mayor. I had a lot of time for Clive back then. A self made man he was a tough but fair employer who led from the front and was well liked. He was Mayor for ten years and I fondly recall one of his first speeches as Mayor. The owner of Australia’s largest bottle shop sales from Wilsonton Hotel and recently elected mayor, opened the new wing of Alcoholics Anonymous with something like

    I don’t know why they got me to open this but I suppose I know where it all (the grog) came from (accompanied by laughter)

    The poignancy of this statement was not lost on many in attendance at the time.
    His legacy is tarnished by East Creek drainage design and inadequate consideration given to flood mitigation in the CBD. How much of the above is directly attributable to Clive’s and other’s developments, the Council or the designers is a matter for conjecture so long after they were completed. Let’s hope the same will not happen with the 2010 Toowoomba, Lockyer, Ipswich and Brisbane Floods.


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    Percival Snodgrass

    This Stephen Robinson was previously the Minister for Queensland Health.

    What an absolute shambles he made of that!
    The bloke couldn’t organise an orgy in a brothel!

    The fellow is a complete failure and a cretin!!

    On reflection, just your typical Labor Party minister really………


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    Percival Snodgrass

    ANNA BLIGH AND JULIA GILLARD TRY AND SILENCE CRITICISM OF THEIR FLOOD MISMANAGEMENT!!

    A blogger on the Piers Ackerman website found this article after I put out a search for it yesterday – strange that it’s on a socialist website. I couldn’t find any other reference to it.

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jan2011/mart-j18.shtml

    “The powers-that-be left us for dead”

    Australia: Grantham flood survivor threatened with arrest
    By Richard Phillips
    18 January 2011

    EXCERPT:

    Queensland police threatened Grantham service station owner Martin Warburton, 41, with arrest on Thursday if he attempted to speak with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh about the failure of their governments to provide timely and adequate assistance to the flood-ravage community. Warburton, who is chairman of the Grantham relief committee and a former councillor, was told by the local police sergeant he could be arrested and charged for “inciting fear and anger in the community”.
    Martin Warburton
    The threat was issued a day before Gillard and Bligh were scheduled to visit a local evacuation centre and followed warnings to the media by Queensland Flood Recovery Taskforce head, Major-General Mick Slater, that any reportage of community “divisiveness” would hamper the “success” of the recovery operation. These developments further highlight the political reality that the principal concerns of the Flood Recovery Taskforce is not the plight of ordinary people but protecting the state and federal governments and corporate interests.
    Grantham, a small town of 370 people in the Lockyer Valley about 100 kilometres west of Brisbane, is regarded as the “epicentre” of flash-flooding that hit Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley communities in south-east Queensland.
    The town was devastated by a massive wall of water that swept through the town on January 10, destroying all in its path—houses, cars and small businesses. More than 30 people have been killed in the Queensland floods. Eighteen of those are from the Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba areas, with 10 people still listed as missing, feared dead. Residents were given no official warnings of the impending disaster but fought heroically to save those caught in the raging torrent.
    Grantham and nearby vegetable crops engulfed
    Martin Warburton spoke with the World Socialist Web Site yesterday about the police threat and the physical and psychological impact of the flood on the small community. He said Grantham residents were outraged by lack of flood warnings, inadequate support and lack of night-time security in the town following the disaster.

    (EDITED to make it an excerpt.Should not post entire articles from another source) CTS


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    Albert

    When the Wivenhoe flood gates were fully opened the Government should have warned us that Brisbane would be flooded like 1974 in 36 hours, they did not and many people lost everything.


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    Tel

    I was a bit open-minded on the issue of Wivenhoe operations and flood control until they started refusing to release the full copy of the manual, and using “for security reasons” as their excuse. Once they start with, “Can’t tell you for security reasons” you can be sure that they are talking about their own job security.

    WATER authorities in Brisbane are refusing to release the flood emergency plan detailing exactly when and how much water should have been released from Wivenhoe Dam to manage the Queensland disaster.

    Yesterday a spokeswoman for South East Queensland Water Grid said the plan could not be made public and refused to say when it was last revised.

    ”[It] is a not a publicly available document and is owned and operated by SEQ Water Grid,” the spokeswoman said. ”An independent commission inquiry has been announced into the Queensland floods and we are unable to comment further at this time.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/operator-wont-reveal-emergency-plan-at-dam-20110118-19vdb.html

    And there’s the other excuse: private document, part of a private company… corporate veil and all that. However, SEQWG is fully government owned so it might look private, but it’s really a public asset. Now I’m sure they have something to hide.


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    Tel

    Just continuing the same point on cover-ups and secrecy:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/21/3118487.htm

    Premier Anna Bligh says there is no cover up.

    “My understanding is the only parts of the guidelines that haven’t been released are the design diagrams,” she said.

    “That’s for security reasons and they will be made fully available to the commission of inquiry.”

    But that’s a blatant lie because whoever blacked out sections of the manual, did not black out the table of contents so we know exactly which bits are missing.

    http://www.jplangbroek.com/bligh-back-to-her-old-tricks-with-censored-wivenhoe-management-manual/

    There’s a full list of the missing bits and it includes the very important tables of operating conditions in particular “Radial gate opening sequence steps and target gate openings against storage level – table” well that surely isn’t any “design diagram” and it has no security importance whatsoever.

    Anna Bligh has been caught telling porkies, interesting to see how she tries to wiggle out of this one.


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    pat

    Treeman and others – thanx for the feedback. hope jo will keep this thread near the top of the page, because it is a useful reference page.

    Treeman, remember this from the Toowoomba Chronicle:

    12 Oct 2010: The Chronicle: John Farmer: City seals water surplus deal
    Last week, Toowoomba Regional Council applied to the government to allow
    spill water from Wivenhoe Dam to be piped to Cressbrook Dam to bolster local
    water supplies currently at 24 per cent.
    Ratepayers were left outraged when the spillway gates were opened at the
    weekend.
    As 24,000 megalitres a day poured into the Brisbane River, it appeared
    Toowoomba’s hopes of accessing the water were sunk…
    While Wivenhoe is above capacity the pipe will pump up to 60 megalitres a
    day, double what is currently being pumped…
    Since opening on January 28, the Wivenhoe Pipeline has delivered more than
    4000 megalitres to Cressbrook Dam at an average of 47 megalitres a day.
    http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2010/10/12/city-seals-deal-for-surplus-water-boost-dam/

    from what u posted earlier, u say any water released by Cressbrook would have impacted Wivenhoe. would that also apply to any water released prior to the 10th Jan, if the water received from Wivenhoe was too much for town consumption?

    Albert:
    Bligh and Campbell (btw from both sides of the political spectrum, so it’s a nonpartisan matter to me) barely mentioned on TV at least, that the flood that was already on the way to brisbane was from the Wivenhoe release, tho there was mention here:

    11 Jan: Daily Telegraph: Brian Williams: Lord Mayor warns 6500 homes and businesses around Brisbane will go under as the city’s flood crisis worsens
    Rapid rises are being recorded along Tenthill Creek in the Lockyer, with the main flood waters at Lyons Bridge. Levels above 17m are forecast.
    Flows from the Bremer and Lockyer catchments combined with releases from Wivenhoe dam will increase levels in Brisbane today…
    This comes after Cr Newman warned yesterday that more water was flowing into the Wivenhoe Dam than the Brisbane River had received in the 1974 floods.
    Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says more water will be released from Wivenhoe Dam today to try and reduce the flood threat.
    “The releases being made from Wivenhoe Dam are not optional,” she said…
    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/brisbane-flood-alert-as-wivenhoe-threatens-to-spill-over/story-fn6bm6am-1225985251560

    18 Jan: Brisbane Times: Daniel Hurst: Mayor bemoans flood web woes
    Cr Newman said the latest flood was an “extremely severe and rare flooding event” and he believed it was worse than a one-in-100 year flood event over a long-term average.
    The flooding in the Lockyer Valley had a “huge part to play” in the flood that hit Brisbane, he said.
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/mayor-bemoans-flood-web-woes-20110118-19uxt.html

    they knew what was coming, but did not prepare accordingly:

    15 Jan: Courier Mail: Robert Craddock, Brian Williams: Lord Mayor Campbell Newman sees prediction of devastating Brisbane floods come true
    It was December 14 and Lord Mayor Campbell Newman was visiting The Courier-Mail offices at Bowen Hills.
    “Going on holidays?” someone asked.
    Cr Newman replied: “No, I am really worried there could be a major flood . . . the forecasts are not good.”…
    With intense rain being recorded across catchments from Brisbane to the Darling Downs, after consulting bureau hydrologists SEQ Water Grid managers decided to lift releases from Wivenhoe Dam to 240,000ML about midnight on Tuesday…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/lord-mayor-campbell-newman-sees-prediction-of-devastating-brisbane-floods-come-true/story-e6freoof-1225988047498?from=public_rss


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    pat

    Tel -

    just as SEQWater is Govt/Council owned, so Allconnex which now manages our high-priced water is owned by 3 SEQ Councils – The Gold Coast, Logan and Redland councils – and therefore owned by us.

    following the flooding, with the dams still full, i was hoping everyone on this water grid would be offered a rebate, so that we could help to reduce the levels in the dams, and thus reduce the amounts released to the brisbane river. no such thing. only brisbane users are being offered any rebate, namely $100, which is piffling compared to the water bills.

    our local paper this week has Allconnex executive officer Kim Wood pleading with users to REDUCE water usage:

    “By using less water, there is more available in the South East Queensland Water Grid for use by everyone, should some reservoirs run low in the future.”
    this also ran in a Logan paper.

    http://logan-west-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/conserve-your-water/

    i don’t think they’ve learned a thing. La Nina must be laughing.


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    Hannah

    Response to David Cain re “The interactive graph facility at the bottom of the following link shows that the dam levels were repeatedly lowered to 100% before the present crisis – so the present criticism is misplaced”. That is literally playing with statistics.
    And that is not correct to their operating procedure. Their instructions are to manage to future forward capacity of 100%.
    The flood mitigation of Wivenhoe to protect the Brisbane CBD then OVER RIDES any other factor. If for example the Dam operators thru their sensors, BOM, what was happening around them, knew an absolutely massive event was unfolding, their task was to empty out the dam to zero if need be. The entire dam, its personnel, all the equipment was built for this exact regular event(ie every third or so la nina
    spike)going back a century or more now. The point being 100% insitu is not their instruction at all in a civil emergency event and is negligent given what they knew, was happening and what the purpose of the Dam actually was when that event unfolded.
    At the time of minimal releases the BOM had predicted up to 18 day before a massive and unusual precipitation event in SEQ, their catchment. Then 8 days, then 5 days before, all accurate information that hardened up to 100% assurance of massive future inflows.
    But the Dam Operators froze, did not act, then panicked. Then they took the Dam to untested limits. They risked an even more massive total catastrophe in total Dam collapse. Anna knew ALL this before she went on TV.
    Then they had to release and flooded the Brisbane CBD. Facts are that. If SEQW and the dam operaters, QLD state and Anna Bligh as the acting authority in this civil emergency had acted in accordance with their responsibilities, then Brisbane would not have flooded.
    So why wouldnt the people of Brisbance, the Banks, the Insurers, the Un Insured, anyone that has suffered any form of loss, now combine to sue Anna Bligh, QLD State Government and SEQ Water as the liable parties. It was man made.


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    Ian Mott

    Robertson has had two terms as Minister for DERM/NRM. His longest stint was prior to his brief Health Dept fiasco. So he remains very much “in the frame” for this debacle.


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    DavidR

    Crakar24,
    I don’t respond to your comments because you bring nothing worthwhile to the discussion, not because you call me moron.

    The comment @135 on the PDO describes the effect of the PDO on the west coast of the US but does nothing to discuss its impact on the global figures. Its an ‘index’ the east goes up and the west goes down or vice versa. Its impact is already accounted for in the global figures.

    Your first reference to the CSIRO @ 178 makes the comment:

    Rising sea-level, stronger tropical cyclones and
    increased intensity of oceanic storm surges are likely
    with climate change. A study has shown that tropical
    cyclone intensity around Cairns in northern
    Queensland could increase by up to 20% by about
    2050. Stronger cyclones would increase the flood
    level associated with a 1-in-100 year flood in Cairns
    from the present height of 2.3 metres to 2.6 metres; a
    rise in sea-level of 0.1 to 0.4 metres would result in
    the flood level increasing further to 2.7 to 3.0 metres.
    This would result in flooding occurring over an area
    about twice that historically affected.

    Your second reference makes a similar comment:

    Future changes in climate extremes, such as tropical cyclones, heat waves, and extreme precipitation events, would degrade Australian infrastructure and public health, for example, through increased energy demands, maintenance costs for transportation infrastructure, and coastal flooding.

    Essentially Bob Brown and I are, independently, just pointing out the predictions made by the CSIRO and other climate experts.

    @194 you claim I said 25% was a majority , i didn’t I said @43

    the BOM site that shows that a large proportion of Queensland has just had the wettest year and the the wettest December on record, and nearly all of Queenslandit was in the top 10% of all records.

    that it was a large proportion. I later used the term most, but was thinking at the time that most of Queensland had rainfall in the top 10%. of all rainfall.

    The CSIRO, in the articles you have quoted predicts that Australia will have less rainfall overall but more in extreme events, this is not a contradiction just a consequence of AGW. If you do understand that you can have a lower average combined with higher individual scores then you have little understanding of the capitalist system.

    Your references to comments about the 1995 IPCC report are outdated by 2 further reports and from the references you have provided completely unwarranted anyway.

    As for using anything written by Andrew Bolt!!! Now there is a man without expertise or authority.

    As for your reasons for calling me a moron. Its obvious like swearing, if you have nothing intelligent to say, and no evidence to back it up swear at or insult you opponent. You won’t win but you may distract them.

    When you can hold a discussion without insulting your opponents you might have something to say.


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    Craigo

    Hannah #231. Wivenhoe did not come close to collapse. The concern was that if water reached the trigger for the first fusegate (about level 75.7m or about 200%) in the secondary spillway, this would trigger an uncontrolled release due to the nature of how a fuse gate works. Wivenhoe has 3 fuse gates at different trigger levels. Once triggered, they have to be rebuilt so the storage capacity will be compromised until rebuilding is completed. Wivenhoe can hold water up to the dam crest at 79m and even up to the top of the wave wall at level 80m at which stage about 3 million ML would be in storage with the 165 metre secondary spillway fully discharging. This would result in a flood of about 26000 cumecs or about 3 x the recent flood peak. You say they should discharge all the water supply ahead of these events. What level of man-made pre-flooding are you prepared to accept and for how long given that a king tide alone will flood streets, businesses and homes by itself? Who will be happy that the correct amount of pre-flooding was done ahead of a forecast event particularly if the entire event is mitigated with no further flooding.

    Treeman – thanks for the extra info. I remember seeing the Wivenhoe dam level “false peak” at around 74m followed by a drop which looked odd then the rise towards 75m. I also recall comments that the forecast continuation of rain did not eventuate allowing the reduction in outflow. I assumed they had cranked up the discharge to slow the rise in water levels and then noticed the drop. I believe that there may also be an issue relating to not overtopping the radial gates. When closed, these are at level 73m and any increase in water level must be matched by opening the gates to maintain some freeboard. So more water can be stored but only by increasing discharges.

    From all reports including extracts from the leaked the emails, they were following the Operations Manual and prior speculation about “were they on duty” appears to have quietly faded away without any apology. So it remains to be seen if following the manual was appropriate or if with hindsight, is there a better way. Other questions to ask include what levels should they pre-release to? What levels flooding are acceptable for early pre-release given that later mitigation then might not reach those same levels and then who will be to blame (and who will pay)?

    Who among you pre-release advocates will predict guarantee the exact amount of rain we will receive from now until the end of the rains so that we have the dam at 100% to ensure long term water supply security? The fact that the forecast continuation of rains didn’t eventuate and three canceled severe storm warning in 3 days last week doesn’t give me that confidence. What level of prior warning is acceptable? Why didn’t the majority of people take heed of the flood warnings issued on Monday and Tuesday? It was clear on Tuesday morning that our business was at high risk of flooding and we were able to clear out almost everything before the flood and this allowed us to clean up, move back in and resume business with only a weeks disruption. OK, I have a tide mark on my desk but it is still usable.

    I will continue to have an open mind until I see some better data including who knew what and when. What were the contributing stream flows and how and when did they each peak. After driving to Toowoomba last week and seeing the devastation across the Lockyer Valley, I have even more questions including about possibly gauged overland flow. Hopefully the Inquiry will reveal enough information to make a more informed opinion on this. With the La Nina still going strong, I don’t think we are out of the mud just yet.


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    Ian Mott

    Get a grip, Craigo.

    Who among you pre-release advocates will guarantee the exact amount of rain we will receive from now until the end of the rains so that we have the dam at 100% to ensure long term water supply security?

    Long term water supply security is not dependent on reaching 100% by the end of the wet season. At 100% there is enough to last until 2019 without a single extra drop of rain falling in any of the next 8 wet seasons. Is that a long shot or what?

    You appear to have difficulty applying a test of significance to your logical processes. You mention the concern about minor pre-release flooding being a reasonable excuse for the failure to prevent a subsequent large one.

    So lets go back over this one more time for the record. The release of 200Gigs/day over the Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon, instead of the 100Gigs/day that was released would have COMPLETELY negated the need for the 645Gig/day release on Tuesday. The Tues/Wed/Thurs releases could have remained smooth at 200Gigs/day.

    The difference between a 645Gig/day release and a 200Gig/day release will not be measured on your office desk, or anywhere near it. You would not have even needed a warning, let alone a single sand bag.


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    Ian Mott

    Robertson is well and truly in the frame alright. The requirement for 100% capacity after each flood event was only implemented in the 2010 revision of the manual. See; http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/wivenhoe-bosses-were-not-allowed-to-empty-dam-before-flood-crisis/story-e6freon6-1225993873986

    So instead of proactive management, this clown put the whole show into a reactive straight jacket. Is there nothing that this guy and his band of shonks cannot turn to complete shite?


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    Craigo

    Ian. If I understand you, you were first suggesting 300GL/day pre-emptive release in your post, then after several days of pontification reduced to 200GL/day. But still you ignore the fact that Brisbane received 110mm by Monday 9am with rain continuing into Tuesday which would add to your 300 or 200GL/d released pre-emptively before this rain event PLUS stream flows from the previous weeks 80mm of rain in the upper catchment on or about the start of your proposed pre-emptive release which were also arriving. So are you suggesting that this alternate scenario would not have caused flooding or simply prevented a different flood event or something else? Or is there something missing in my logic? Probably just the fact that the Bremer was already inundating the lower parking levels of Riverlink Shopping Centre on Tuesday morning but your pre-emptive release wouldn’t have affected that would it?

    In other words, you need to add all the other existing conditions to your alternate scenario before suggesting that it has merit. Oh and you better make sure it is all technically feasible based on the limits of the installed equipment.


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    brc

    Ian – I said right as this started to come out that the dam saga would overtake and nullify any good feeling towards Bligh and her crew.


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    Warren

    Ian @ 236, my copy of the manual downloaded from The Australian is the 11/2009 revision, and keeping the dams at full supply level is an explicit aim stated in Section 3.5 “Retain the storage at Full Supply Level at the Conclusion of the Flood Event”. So much for the media…. one arm of News Ltd doesn’t know what another has already established.

    I’m fed up to the back teeth with the pre-emptive proclamations from News Ltd outlets about the flood ,how ‘avoidable’ it was,what engineer X says based on limited information,and their back of the envelope calculations about what percentage of the flood came from where,when their fumblings clearly reveal they have no knowledge of subject,and no further access to information than Joe Public.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Craigo:

    So it remains to be seen if following the manual was appropriate

    The problem with the manual is that it allows the operators an awful lot of latitude. In fact, it doesn’t actually require releases until the fuses are at risk of blowing. It only talks in terms of “target maximum flows”.

    However, if you take those “target maximum flows” as a statement of intent, then the operators were releasing way under the intent of the manual. For example, the dam level was 68.55 m by 11 am Sunday the 9th, above the level for switch to Strategy W2/W3, but they didn’t reach the maximum target for W2 until around 7 am Tuesday the 11th, 44 hours later.

    Strategy W3 (which they should have switched to soon after switching to W2) says:

    “The primary consideration is Protecting Urban Areas from Inundation”

    The court will be asking the operators some serious questions about what this statement means in practice.


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    Treeman

    Craigo@237

    You can’t get away from the fact that big falls were forecast, and Wivenhoe was at 105% and rising on January 7. It had been rising since January 4. Are you trying to suggest that SEQW have some sort of excuse?

    Warren@239 The manual was updated January 2010 but irrespective of that consider the above. Why did SEQW retain the storage at above full Supply Level during January 4 to January 7?


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    Electrical Engineer

    Treeman:

    big falls were forecast, and Wivenhoe was at 105% and rising on January 7. It had been rising since January 4. Are you trying to suggest that SEQW have some sort of excuse?

    I would say that the excuse includes the fact that the manual only requires Strategy W1 until the dam reaches 68.5 m which is around 114%. As far as I’m aware, the dam didn’t reach 68.5 m until Sunday morning although the forecast level should easily have reached 68.5 m after considering the actual rainfall and forecast released by the BOM around 5 am Sunday morning. The actual rainfall around Crohamhurst in the upper Stanley was 250+ mm to 9 am on Sunday which should easily have made the dam level forecast over 68.5 m.

    But getting back to January 7 (and 8), I believe they were obeying the intent of the manual by making use of the dam’s capacity up to 68.5 m or 114%. The government had decided that 114% was the allowed level before they got serious about mitigating floods in Brisbane, so you can’t blame the operators for that. What happened when it went above that, however, is an entirely different story.


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    Warren

    Yep,Treeman,it was 20-30 gigs over 100% on the 4th,and slowly rose over the next few days,what of it? There was no immediate flood threatat the time The really heavy stuff was not forecast until much closer to the 10th of January.Rainfalls for the 9th [that is to 9am on the 10th]were only heavy in the uppermost Stanley River catchment,and pretty insignificant elsewhere in the Wivenhoe catchment. I think SEQwater have much more than some sort of excuse,because I have seen nothing that amounts to a thorough breakdown of all factors in a timeline here or in the media. The inquiry will lay out the meteorology and forecasts day by day,along with stream data. It will probably be seen that opportunities were underexploited in hindsight,as people already claim;it’s what happened in action in light of available knowledge that counts.

    In the meantime,stirring in the media sheds no light,and the Courier-Mail’s claim today is wrong.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Ian Mott:

    So lets go back over this one more time for the record. The release of 200Gigs/day over the Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon, instead of the 100Gigs/day that was released would have COMPLETELY negated the need for the 645Gig/day release on Tuesday. The Tues/Wed/Thurs releases could have remained smooth at 200Gigs/day.

    By my calculations from Savages Crossing flow rates, if they had started releasing at the rate of 300 Gl/day, which is the Strategy W2 target, from 3 am Sunday morning then the flow could have been kept to 300 Gl/day during the entire event without filling the dam higher than it reached. The operators probably should have known by 5 am with the BOM forecast and certainly by 9 am with the actual rain that had already fallen that W2 was required.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Myself:

    The actual rainfall around Crohamhurst in the upper Stanley was 250+ mm to 9 am on Sunday which should easily have made the dam level forecast over 68.5 m.

    I have to apologize that the rainfall was actually only 100+ mm to 9 am in the upper Stanley to 9 am Sunday. Nevertheless, this just changes the timing of the factors that I’m aware of by only a few hours, e.g. the dam actually reached the required level for W2, 68.5 m, before 11 am Sunday. It would be very surprising if the 5 am forecast from the BOM did not allow them to predict this.


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    Treeman

    Warren
    Are you sure you don’t work for SEQW?

    It was 20-30 gigs over 100% on the 4th,and slowly rose over the next few days,what of it?

    I’m fed up to the teeth with people defending the indefensible. Irrespective of The manual blind freddie could see that a big event was on. We all saw it and guess what? Those with the power to do something about it did nothing.

    I have it on good authority they were arguing about how much to release even before the big rains fell. One can only imagine the hellish scenario when bureaucrats and politicians realised the horse had bolted.

    Electrical Engineer@245

    It would be very surprising if the 5 am forecast from the BOM did not allow them to predict this.

    It would be more than surprising! The forecast was only the half of it. An almost identical weather event inundated the Northern Rivers in the weeks before with falls over 300mm. BOM and the SEQW had it in spades and SEQW dithered while time ran out.


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    Electrical Engineer

    This had actually happened by 7 am Sunday the 9th, i.e. it was not a forecast:

    The Somerest catchment is currently getting hammered with rainfall rates in excess of 50mm/h and some of this is also going to hit the Wivenhoe catchment area.

    That commenter also said:

    If this rainfall rate stays over the area its currently positioned for any length of time inflows into Somerset and Wivenhoe will reach major flood level by lunch.

    Watch for rapid rises in the Stanley River the Brisbane River above Wivenhoe to occur this morning.

    If the real rain isn’t going to arrive til later were in deep trouble.

    Meanwhile, Wivenhoe dam operators kept their strategy on W1E.


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    John Brookes

    Warren@239:

    I’m fed up to the back teeth with the pre-emptive proclamations from News Ltd outlets about the flood ,how ‘avoidable’ it was,what engineer X says based on limited information,and their back of the envelope calculations about what percentage of the flood came from where,when their fumblings clearly reveal they have no knowledge of subject,and no further access to information than Joe Public.

    I’m also fed up with The Australian on this. Are they trying to create controversy just so that they have something to report? Or do they just love government bashing so much that they can’t help themselves?

    One point about the timing of water releases that has only been mentioned in passing – do water releases have to be timed so that they don’t interact constructively with high tides?

    And finally, since every political controversy has to have a “gate” attached, can we take this one back to square one and call it watergate?


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    Treeman

    John Brookes@248
    The Australian is a News Limited outlet….as are the Courier mail and Sunday Mail.

    One point about the timing of water releases that has only been mentioned in passing – do water releases have to be timed so that they don’t interact constructively with high tides?

    Surely you mean so they don’t interact destructively with high tides?

    From my own observations, during big water releases there is no appreciable high and low from the St Lucia reach upstream and the water backs up against the tide closer to Brisbane as the volume of water flowing increases. At the river mouth there is never any flooding.

    At the peak of the 2010 flood engineers measuring flow at Jindalee bridge told me it was stable at 3M/sec. Upstream of St Lucia is where the worst flooding occurred. The king tides at the end of last week would have seen much bigger impacts on the lower reaches of the river if the flood peaked a week later, I suggest.

    A number of SEQW defenders have suggested that local falls were a major contributor to the 2010 floods, even higher than ’74. Records suggest that is not the case..
    As I’ve said before there is a very strong smell of a complete stuffup here and it takes someone the size of News Ltd to adequately rattle the cages of those responsible.


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    brc

    No – not watergate. Floodgate-gate.


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    Treeman, all you have said here is pretty much spot on, and slowly the facts are coming out in the press, ie less rain in 2011 than 1974.

    This is only my second comment on this matter, the first was over at Bishop Hill on the 16th , where I relayed information from an insider. That information was basically, the managers of the dam stuffed up, the dam should have been pulled down when the rain depression, monsoon trough, was flooding the Rockhampton area and moving south.
    The information I had was “ the shit is in the fan now, there will be big trouble over this”, “the dam was designed to hold and release over time a ’74 flood”, “Brisbane should have never flooded”.

    All the spinning in the world will not make this one go away. Heads must roll, jail time for some.


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    Warren

    Treeman @249.I suppose for arguments sake I’m a SEQwater defender at the moment. Complete stuff-up is just too OTT. It’s premature.

    The Courier-Mail is relaying part of the amended Special Climate Statement 24 from BOM,which has a quick run-down of totals in Eastern Australian flood events.It does not have the detail needed to compare ’74 and 2011. News Ltd has got a lot of coverage,aloy of it very interesting,but they do not drill down into the info,and they tend to make provocative summations,such as the PDF in the Oz ‘Natural disaster or man-made?’ Attractive,and superficial and I think they clearly overstate the Wivenhoe contribution. I concur with Prof Ashkenasy’s quick conclusion that Wivenhoe’s presence shaved 1.5m off the flood,because I think this would have been a faster,peakier flood with a lower total volume at Mt Crosby pre-Wivenhoe.

    Rainfall in ’74 was higher in the Brisbane hills and suburbs,and down the Bremer and in Oxley Creek catchment. It was higher averaged over the total area of Brisbane River catchment and suburbs,but 2011 had a really hard finish with three day totals of 500 to 700mm in a line from the upper Stanley down the D’Aiguilar range and over Wivenhoe itself,England Creek,Lake Manchester and over the Marburg area.

    As well,rainfall in the western half of the Wivenhoe catchment and in the Lockyer was a bit higher. One thing I noted on the day[late on the 10th] was that Lockyer Creek reached 17.19m @ Lyons Bridge,65cm higher than 1974,and second only to 17.46m recorded in March 1955. This peak was one that the Flood Ops were trying to avoid coincidence with,but failed because they decided they could not risk greater storage in the flood compartment. If they’d called nature’s bluff,they might have been able to cut their peak flow a little. 3 day rainfalls at the bottom end of the Lockyer across to Mt Glorious and the Brisbane River reaches from Wivenhoe to the Bremer junction matched 5 day totals for the area in ’74 with the exception of Mt Glorious. To me this suggests that below-Wivenhoe contributions are significant and not fully appreciated,because they are not yet quantified.


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    Warren

    ‘Jail time for some’

    ….oh the angry vengeful types are really helpful.

    The Courier-mails headline that 1974 figures dwarf 2011′s is another bit of stupid,stupid exaggeration. That frigging paper has had two weeks to coolly compile the data and compare it. Fail.


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    Ian Mott

    Craigo #237 has done a classic sidestep. At 234 he demanded;

    Who among you pre-release advocates will guarantee the exact amount of rain we will receive from now until the end of the rains so that we have the dam at 100% to ensure long term water supply security?

    And when it was explained that 100% was not necessary for “long term water supply security”, he wandered off on some mutterings about whether 200gigs/day, or my previous example of 300gigs/day constituted the same flood intensity as the 645gigs/day flood we actually got.

    Electrical Engineer #244 pointed out that one pre-release of 300gigs/day would have allowed an essentially similar smothing outcome as a few days of 200gigs/day. That is, there were numerous discharge options available as time progressed to avoid the 645gigs/day flood we actually got. And none of them were taken.

    Both Warren and Craigo appear to be working straight off the departmental blog spoilers work sheet. They try to attach a much higher burden of proof than any department would ever apply to itself, and try to imply that minor uncertainties have a major influence on the outcome. I gather this was the standard legal MO of ‘Doc’ Evatt who would beaver at some minor evidentiary bone for so long that the judges lost the big picture.

    My well founded suspicion, from long exposure to departmental scumbagia, is that every second “media liaison” officer in any related Qld government departmnent is spending a very large part of their time running official ‘interference’ on every blog and newspaper thread they can get to. And the tactic is simple, if you can’t win the debate then confuse as many readers as possible with irrelevant detail.


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    Warren

    Overripe,paranoid BS,Ian,and completely over-rating the significance of our collective mutterings. But fun,though..


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    Electrical Engineer

    Mr Dennien said the dam was operated as per instructions.
    “We went into Monday holding what the dam manual told us to hold,” Mr Dennien said….

    Dennien is being very, very economical with the truth. The manual does not specify how much should be released. It only specifies the maximum rate that can be released for a given set of forecast dam levels and natural flow rates. The actual release rate below these maximum rates is entirely up to the discretion of the operators. This is one part of the truth he didn’t want us to know.


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    Treeman

    Electrical Engineer

    Dennien is being very, very economical with the truth. The manual does not specify how much should be released. It only specifies the maximum rate that can be released for a given set of forecast dam levels and natural flow rates. The actual release rate below these maximum rates is entirely up to the discretion of the operators. This is one part of the truth he didn’t want us to know.

    You have identified precisely the reason that SEQW defenders have resorted to obfuscation and denigration this blog as collective mutterering. The smell is getting worse as the mud disappears!


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    Electrical Engineer

    Ian Mott:

    That is, there were numerous discharge options available as time progressed to avoid the 645gigs/day flood we actually got. And none of them were taken.

    One of those options precluded by the manual was not worrying about those silly bridges just below the dam. Worrying about keeping those bridges open meant they were allowed to let Wivenhoe rise to 68.5 m or about 114% before they were allowed to flood them. That 14% made up 160 Gl of the 210 Gl released from the dam that they flooded Brisbane with. If it wasn’t for those silly bridges, Brisbane would probably never have had a major flood. Don’t worry about a pre-release below 100%, just put in a couple of decent bridges so the manual can forget about them.


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    Craigo

    And when it was explained that 100% was not necessary for “long term water supply security”, he wandered off on some mutterings about whether 200gigs/day, or my previous example of 300gigs/day constituted the same flood intensity as the 645gigs/day flood we actually got.

    I chose not to respond to your comment on water security because it ventures into a completely different discussion on which you have yet another firm opinion but is not central to this discussion. SEQ residents will be more aware of recent talking points on this matter. Water is a bit like money in the bank. The QLD govenment only has one of those right now and it’s not the money and what little the resident’s do have, they are reluctant to part with unnecessarily. But as I said, strays from the topic but it probably will be a topic in the Enquiry.

    Both Warren and Craigo appear to be working straight off the departmental blog spoilers work sheet.

    Resorting to accusations of being in the pay of “Big Water”! Classic! And on a skeptic blog too! Do you think facts shouldn’t get in the way of a good story? To your implication, my interest is purely personal and technical and certainly not “expert”. I have a degree in Civil Engineering and studied hydraulics and hydrology as part of that degree so I would say that I have an understanding above the average layman level and try to convey that in understandable terms. Whilst I don’t currently work in the field of water resources, I have been involved at a fairly senior level on the construction of four large water supply dams on two continents intermittently over a period of twenty four years, the most recent being in a design and build Alliance for Paradise Dam near Biggenden and always for private enterprise. So, as I say, long term interest.

    So whilst you imply certain things and question my motives, with much bluff and bluster, you directly fail to address the inconvenient facts of the actual events existing on the ground in Ipswich and Brisbane prior to the major peak release which confound your various proposals of pre-release strategy. You accuse the operators of certain failings but don’t appear to have a set figure yourself. You can’t even see the irony that your proposed deliberate pre-emptive release plus downstream additions would result in some flooding, some destruction of property and longer isolation of some communities who rely on those “silly bridges” AND pre-emptive flooding that would still result in the same cries of “Man-made flood” whilst relying on an even weaker “mitigation” arguement of less than “something worse”. Or in simple terms, “we need to flood you to prevent the flood that would have happened if we hadn’t”.

    I will also admit to a prepondrance toward facts and details. I am sure some see this as a failing especially when some apparently tiny little detail erodes the simplistic meme. A bit like a small rubber seal on a space shuttle. Or safe operation of radial gates or fuse gates. I like a good root cause analysis – but done properly that gets behind the corporate BS and spin with a thorough understanding in the facts and constraints. And yes, I have seen and probably done a few RCA’s that are spin because it just easier to avoid the interminable consequences that follow, just so long as you don’t believe it yourself.

    So I still want to know why on Tuesday morning the flood levels for Moggill were predicted to be above minor (10m) but by evening had increased to 22m ie 2m above ’74 but finally reached 17.9m some 2m below ’74 levels. Why were the predictions going up and down? What was driving these predictions? What I want to see is a walk through step by step of all the facts, who knew what and when, what were the constraints, what were the options, what were the decisions at each step etc etc and then make a more informed opinion on whether this was avoidable or not and how it can be managed better in the future. But yes – I want facts first, then I will make up my mind. You see I think it is just a tad more complicated that 645GL/d + 36 hours = MAN-MADE Flood.

    Or as Warren put it so succictly:

    Overripe,paranoid BS,Ian,and completely over-rating the significance of our collective mutterings. But fun,though..


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    Ian Mott

    The problem for you, Craigo, is the fact that we have a long list of posts by yourself on this thread that allows us to distinguish between what you claim and what you actually say. You claim to be an engineer with a degree of technical knowledge but you almost invariably finish off your posts with a bit of pure spin that only appears plausible to the completely gullible.

    As I have pointed out a number of times, you have a serious problem in applying a test of significance to your claims. So the risk of “some flooding” from pre-releases is given the same weight as serious flooding from the absence of pre-releases. This continual returning to a position that has been repeatedly debunked by myself and many others can only amount to evidence of either a serious retention deficit or a deliberate intention to mislead a portion of the readers.

    The whole point of flood mitigation is to achieve a reduction in the scale and intensity of flood flows for the purpose of reducing the adverse impacts of those flows. But whenever you are pinned down on the actual release volumes involved you avoid the issue by reference to particular river heights in metres that cannot be accurately reconciled with the volume data and give an appearance of responding to the topic but without any relevant substance.

    You top that off with a sequence of false tests of veracity that you hope might give you a veneer of credibility but few readers will be fooled. No-one ever suggested that 200Gigs/day or 300Gigs/day were the only options but you choose to portray any variation within a range as evidence of some sort of inconsistency.

    So in the unlikely event that you are not a paid departmental troll, you appear to be doing a very good immitation of one.


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    Treeman

    Ian

    I agree wholeheartedly. There was once a dog that harassed me on my morning walk. It had a bucket secured to its collar to stop it from scratching its ears and its bark was decidedly hollow. I walked over a little bridge adjacent to its home and named it the troll. Every time I see troll used to describe certain bloggers, I’m reminded of the unfortunate animal and wonder if they like it are constrained by the need to scratch?

    Craigo

    It’s not an easy job purifying waters you’ve muddied! Perhaps a little reverse osmosis is what is required.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Craigo:

    longer isolation of some communities who rely on those “silly bridges”

    I didn’t say it was silly to be forced to rely on those “silly bridges”. What we have seen is at least hundreds of millions of dollars damage, if not billions, because the government was too stingy to build just 2 decent level bridges. How much has the government saved by not building those bridges?

    AND pre-emptive flooding that would still result in the same cries of “Man-made flood”

    The manual only allows natural flows up to 3,500 m3/s at Lowood unless the dam is at risk so they can’t be directly accused of causing a man-made flood. The fault by the operators was only allowing FAR less than natural flow when they were allowed the lesser of natural flow and 3,500 m3/s.

    You can’t even see the irony that your proposed deliberate pre-emptive release plus downstream additions would result in some flooding, some destruction of property

    The “proposed deliberate pre-emptive release” was nothing more than the manual allowed, i.e. once Wivenhoe rose above 68.5 m which happened before 11 am Sunday the 9th, the operators were allowed to release natural flow until it reached 3,500 m3/s at Lowood and then hold it at 3,500 m3/s.
    They completely failed to get anywhere near this until 43 hours later when they pressed the panic button. The manual regards 3,500 m3/s at Lowood as the upper limit of non-damaging floods so it is not correct to suggest it would cause significant property damage.

    I will also admit to a prepondrance toward facts and details.

    So do I as I hope you will notice.

    So I still want to know why on Tuesday morning the flood levels for Moggill were predicted to be above minor (10m) but by evening had increased to 22m ie 2m above ’74 but finally reached 17.9m some 2m below ’74 levels.

    Judging from the operators actions as evidenced by the flow at Savages Crossing, I’d say the prediction on Tuesday morning came from before they hit the panic button (which they did about 6 am) so was based on the assumption that the flow at Lowood was not going to exceed 3,500 m3/s. Of course, after they hit the panic button, the predictions had to make an estimate from the rapidly increasing and finally enormous flow. I’ll leave it to you to guess how accurate that can be expected to be.

    It’s interesting that they were forecasting 10 m at Moggill while they still expected to keep the flow down because this is what they could have achieved right through the whole event (or not very much above it) if they had started releasing 3,500 m3/s at 3 am Sunday morning. A decent weather forecast for just the next 12 hours should have allowed them to do this. But even if they hadn’t started releasing at 3,500 m3/s until they actually saw the dam too high and rising, the flood peak would have been far less and far less expensive than it turned out to be.

    Another thing I’d like to mention now is that the Somerset dam strategy, S2, required before the flood, has been almost completely censored. That dam was holding 27 Gl too much water on the Friday before the flood as far as I can tell given that the strategy has been censored from the public. Why have they censored that strategy much more than the Wivenhoe strategy?


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    Craigo

    Ian. Can you advise exactly the appearance of a “paid departmental troll” so I can compare appearances? It really isn’t much of a defence against the points I have raised but when you are a bit thin on facts and rely on newspaper accounts of certain things, I guess casting accusations of trolldom is as good as any.

    I remind you of this gem of over reaching at #31

    They all took the weekend off and watched a 1 in 120 year flood event turn a simple task into a crisis they couldn’t deal with by Monday afternoon.

    Electrical Engineer.
    Holding excessive water in Somerset somewhere above the 105m level floods a number of bridges into Kilcoy and some low lying parts of the township. It’s in the 2007 Wivenhoe study and whilst in my apparent disguise of a troll, I don’t think I have highlighted this on this particular blog, I have noted elsewhere

    Flood storage in Somerset Dam (upstream of Wivenhoe) exceeded it’s rated flood storage capacity resulting in inundation of parts of the township of Kilcoy further upstream. This was a brave move and likely to also have some fall out in the weeks to follow. They were in effect sacrificed for Brisbane!

    as far back as 15/01/11 – clearly the act of a (un)paid troll ;-)


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    Electrical Engineer

    Craigo:

    Holding excessive water in Somerset somewhere above the 105m level floods a number of bridges into Kilcoy and some low lying parts of the township.

    I hope you realize what my point was:

    “That dam was holding 27 Gl too much water on the Friday BEFORE the flood as far as I can tell given that the strategy has been censored from the public.”

    Somerset was at 107.2% at 6 am Friday the 7th. That meant Brisbane got an additional 27 GL dumped on it during the floods the following Wednesday or Thursday or, as you mention, increased the flooding in Kilcoy. That 27 Gl did no-one, in Brisbane or Kilcoy, any good.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Craigo, I notice on that other blog you claim:

    Wivenhoe had released almost all of its flood storage before the intense rainfall began on Sunday night.

    That just isn’t true. They had about 14-15% in the flood storage because the level was 68.55 m before 11 am on Sunday morning and Somerset had an excess as well. This was at least about 160 Gl that subsequently got dumped on Brisbane at the peak of the flood. That flood sent 280 Gl above 3,500 m3/sec past Savages Crossing, so most of that 280 Gl was due to the excess water in the dams on Sunday morning, given the way they controlled the dams.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Check this rainfall map for the 12 hours to 9 pm Sunday 9/1/11. More than 100 mm average over Wivenhoe’s entire 7,000 sqkm catchment which would generate more than 700 GL and it was still raining heavily. The operators should have known their dams were going to be filled close to danger levels in the next 36 hours. What was their prime concern at the time? Keeping the bridges below the dam open, apparently.


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    Treeman

    Electrical Engineer

    I’m so pleased to see this image archived. Can you access the rest?

    I reviewed them all (the 24 hour/seven day images) before making my first comment on this thread. I still have the notes made from them and you are right but even worse; the operators knew how much water they were collecting before 9pm Sunday 9/1/11! There is an hourly rainfall map published at BOM. Action to release more water should have been taken on Sunday afternoon or even earlier when the dam level would have been somewhere between 125-140%.

    I suggest there is more to the politics than keeping bridges open. Many high value properties would have had some flooding if a big release was made on Sunday evening. They had the information and the technology to make the big decision but they did not.

    There is no logical conclusion other than the whole thing was a monumental stuffup.


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    Electrical Engineer

    I saved the rainfall map for 24 hours to 9 am 9/1/11 and that indicated that at least the spare flood capacity in Wivenhoe and Somerset on Sunday morning worth of rain, 1,100 GL, had fallen in those 24 hours, most of it in the first 12 hours. So the dam operators should known their dams were going to fill up unless they did some very serious releases which they failed to do until it was too late.

    Indeed, the operators should have had a forecast level exceeding 74 m for which the manual gives them the authority to release at any rate they wish. They failed to make use of this authority by even releasing at the W2 allowed rate, 3,500 m3/s, until after the dam exceeded 73.5 m around 6 am Tuesday morning, this being the top of the gate level beyond which I believe the flow increases very rapidly because the gates are overtopped.

    One other point I’d like to make is that lots of people say Wivenhoe reduced the flood peak by 2 metres but that’s just a rule-of-thumb based on a model flood. The actual flood peak that came down the Brisbane River on Tuesday night was hardly affected by the dam at all because the dam was already full and not allowed to absorb any of that peak. That peak co-incided with Lockyer Creek’s Tuesday night peak which was its biggest flood peak on record. Thus the dam made not much difference to the overall Tuesday night flood peak. The Brisbane’s flood peak on Sunday night was higher than its peak on Tuesday night but the Lockyer’s was much lower on Sunday night. Thus it’s hard to say whether Wivenhoe reduced the highest flood peak because we don’t know if the highest flood peak without the dam would have been on Sunday night or Tuesday night. Wivenhoe removed the former but hardly changed the latter.


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    Electrical Engineer

    I saved the rainfall map for 24 hours to 9 am 9/1/11 and ..

    That should be: I saved the rainfall map for the 24 hours to 9 am 10/1/11 and that etc.


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    Electrical Engineer

    I’ve calculated how much flood reserve the dams had remaining at 11 am Sunday the 9th. By “flood reserve” I mean the the level at which uncontrolled releases begin by overtopping of the floodgates at Wivenhoe (73.5 m) and 190% of FSL at Somerset.

    Wivenhoe as it was before 11 am Sunday was above 68.5 m at which the contents are 1,340 GL. The contents at 73.5 m are 2,000 GL. So Wivenhoe had 660 GL storage remaining before uncontrolled releases at 11 am Sunday morning.

    I believe Somerset’s level at 11 am Sunday was about 1.5 m above FSL which is at least 60 GL above FSL. The 90% above FSL for flood reserve represents 340 GL, so it had no more than 270 GL flood reserve remaining.

    Thus the total flood reserve remaining at 11 am Sunday was 930 GL or less. The dam operators should have known just from the 12 hours rainfall to 9 pm Sunday, in excess of 700 GL of rain, that this was going to fill up which it did 34 hours later.

    For some unknown reason the dam operators did not do anymore than they did or what they were allowed to do to prevent the flood reserve filling up as quickly as it did. The dams were then no defense from the flood peak that occurred on Tuesday night.


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    Craigo

    Electrical Engineer.
    My Bad x2! Next time I will try to calm down, verify my claims etc before making such wild unsubstantiated statements. Thanks for noting my error. I could claim that I didn’t have the luxury of watching the drama unfold due to loss of power that week so was relying on memory. Hence the “almost” as rider. I suppose 15% is pushing the limits of “almost”! They do have some latitude in returning to between 67m and 67.5m (which is around 105-106%). I did try to get data from BOM the following week but they said no, SEQW own the data. BOM could sell me other river data but they were busy atm. I did ask SEQW to re-publish data that was previously publicly available but didn’t get a response.

    In looking for additional data I found 68.55m level on Brisbane R at Wivenhoe Dam HW # 68.55m rising 08:07 AM SAT 08/01/11 so it looks to me like they may have been targeting holding at that level around Strategy 1E on Saturday-Sunday before drowning Mt Crosby Weir. See comment here that Mt Crosby weir bridge was closed sometime after 1:00am Monday morning and photos of it flooded at 7:00am allowing the move to Strategy 2 or 3. So I see the point about allowing a greater discharge than actually occurred plus, re-reading the rules, the prediction of level 74m is the “tipping point” but it looks like they stepped through the rules conservatively one by one without using +74m prediction as the trump card.

    Treeman – at the risk of “muddying the waters”, the amount of silt that came down the river suggests a lot of scour somewhere. The Moggill Ferry approach has been stripped of all the trees and vegetation and half the carpark in the before photo. Another observation is that the post event release was held steady at 301 GL/day (3483 cumecs) for a number of days but Savages Crossing (last day currently available) shows these as steady at about 220 GL (2546cumecs) so there is a 81 GL/day mismatch between them.

    Thats my last bark until the Enquiry Reports back. I trust you will all make public submissions if allowed and don’t be surprised by a “could have done better but not responsible” outcome.


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    Ian Mott

    Well done, electrical Engineer. Game, Set and Match, thank you linesmen, thank you ball boys.


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    Bernd Felsche

    Richard Feynam wrote on the genesis of a similar disaster 25 years ago.

    The mechanisms are the same.

    A man-made disaster is any disaster in which lack of reasonable action to ameliorate the detrimental effects of foreseeable, likely destructive conditions caused by man or nature. Such disasters are inevitable whenever there’s a surfeit of non-engineering interests involved in a project.


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    Warren

    Craigo, the release from the dam is from the base of the gates at high pressure,so by the time it gets to Savages Crossing the water has slowed down and spread out. There will always be a discrepancy between a set figure at the spillway channel and what it translates to in a wider riverbed with a low gradient. That lower figure at Savages also includes local runoff and the Lockyer,so it is lower still,so maybe 210 or 200 there equals 300 at dam. That ratio is unlikely to hold at 2:3 for any flow,particularly low ones,but it is an indicator of sorts for the higher ones which have the back pressure of the elevated lake pushing them out.


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    Electrical Engineer

    Craigo:

    So I see the point about allowing a greater discharge than actually occurred plus, re-reading the rules, the prediction of level 74m is the “tipping point” but it looks like they stepped through the rules conservatively one by one without using +74m prediction as the trump card.

    They were going through Strategy W1 when 74m+ prediction allowed them to do Strategy W4. They had more than enough justification for the full flow rates of Strategy W2/W3 but stayed at Strategy W1 for a very long time.

    Bernd Felsche:

    Such disasters are inevitable whenever there’s a surfeit of non-engineering interests involved in a project.

    We can see from press releases in the past that management was always under pressure to not release water. The releases included a “justification” for releasing water. There were often people who said things like “I hope they don’t release too much water now” etc. Clearly, a disaster needed to happen first before a rational operating policy was going to be adopted.


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    pat

    wanted to put these on records here:

    1 Feb: Courier Mail: Brian Williams: Wivenhoe Dam release hosed down by Anna Bligh as flood threat not imminent
    THE State Government appears to have at least temporarily shied away from the idea of releasing some of Wivenhoe Dam’s drinking water as a flood prevention measure for Brisbane.
    Asked yesterday if the preventive move would be made, Premier Anna Bligh replied there was no significant rain event looming for Brisbane over the next week, but the situation would be monitored daily.
    Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson revealed in The Courier-Mail yesterday that he had sought a report on the idea from Seqwater…
    In a press conference yesterday, Seqwater spokesman Mike Foster declined to answer most questions on dam operations and whose responsibility it was to take decisions…
    Andrew Dragun, an adjunct professor for Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute, said if changes had to be made to the manual governing dam operations, they needed to be made now because February was Queensland’s wettest month.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/wivenhoe-dam-release-hosed-down-by-anna-bligh-as-flood-threat-not-imminent/story-e6freoof-1225997700206

    1 Feb: Rockhampton Morning Bulletin: Yasi tracks north, Cap Coast safer
    DESPITE damaging winds from tomorrow morning, Cyclone Yasi isn’t expected to affect the region’s coastal communities as much as first predicted.
    This is the latest advice from the Bureau of Meteorology about the impact of the cyclone on the Capricorn Coast…
    Acting Mayor, Councillor Rose Swadling said the Bureau of Meteorology has advised they do not expect that the Capricorn Coast will experience any significant storm tide surge given our distance from the expected cyclone track…
    http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/story/2011/02/01/cap-coast-safer-yasi-tracks-north/

    31 Jan: Sydney Morning Herald: How the floods coverage killed tourism
    Rockhampton airport – the only major airfield closed by the recent flooding – reopened this morning as Queensland does its best restore business as usual. However, you’d be forgiven for assuming that, for the past month, the whole of Queensland has been underwater from Camooweal to Coolangatta, Cooktown to Charleville.
    As politicians and the media have dramatised the extent of the floods, this has led to what the Queensland Tourism Industry Council terms “a wave of perception-driven cancellations”…
    None of the main tourism centres of far North Queensland (chiefly Cairns and Port Douglas), the Whitsundays, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast were affected by the floods and remain fully open for business.
    Yet Daintree Ecolodge owner Cathy Maloney says: “International travel agents who were due to visit Tropical North Queensland have cancelled their familiarisation trips due to the dramatic coverage of floods – floods that are more than 1000 kilometres away.”…
    http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/travellers-check/how-the-floods-coverage-killed-tourism/20110124-1a25x.html

    fear-mongering never ends…

    1 Feb: Courier Mail Brisbane: Queensland facing a deadly event with Cyclone Yasi: (Premier) Anna Bligh
    Ms Bligh said people must take the opportunity today to stock up on food and other supplies, with a real risk many could be without power for three to five days.
    “I think many people will be very frightened by what they’re hearing,” she said…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland-facing-a-deadly-event-with-cyclone-yasi-anna-bligh/story-e6freon6-1225997904763

    rate payers are paying this guy:

    1 Feb: Gold Coast Bulletin: Allconnex Water boss salary revealed
    ALLCONNEX Water chief executive Kim Wood takes home an annual salary of about $340,000, plus bonuses based partially on profits, the Gold Coast Bulletin can reveal…
    http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2011/02/01/288221_gold-coast-news.html


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    Ian Mott

    Yep, the goose has only just been introduced to this radical new concept called pre-emptive releases.

    Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson revealed in The Courier-Mail yesterday that he had sought a report on the idea from Seqwater…

    Someone at SEQ Water is, no doubt, googling “common sense” as we speak.


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    pat

    presume nothing is being done to remedy this situation at source:

    7 Feb: Courier Mail: Jodie Munro O’Brien and Robyn Ironside: Flash-flooding hits Toowoomba as southeast set for relief from humidity
    Police have had reports of water over the roads in Toowoomba, in particular around the East Creek vicinity.
    There are also reports of Bridge and Tor streets in Toowoomba’s west being under 1m of water as is James and Kitchener streets where a mother and son drowned last month..
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/days-of-humidity-finally-set-to-end-for-southeast-queenslanders/story-e6freon6-1226001030811


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    Craigo

    It is up and running. Time to make your allegations official.

    Terms of Reference:

    UNDER the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950, Her Excellency the Governor, acting by and with the advice of the Executive Council, hereby appoints the Honourable Justice Catherine Holmes to make full and careful inquiry in an open and independent manner with respect to the following matters:-

    f) implementation of the systems operation plans for dams across the state and in particular the Wivenhoe and Somerset release strategy and an assessment of compliance with, and the suitability of the operational procedures relating to flood mitigation and dam safety,


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    OK..Well when it comes to CLimate change or Global warming, we have all been miss informed by bad terminology! It shoudl be called ” ATMOSPHERIC ENERGISING” because this is what it is and what is happening. More energy in an increasingly denser atmosphere. This by default HAS TO lead to more violent and extreme weather conditions. So heat waves will be hotter, cold snaps colder, pressure gradients between lows and highs steeper leading to stronger winds, bigger waves, greater storm surge etc. SO unfortunately unless humanity re-thinks a few things, about its impact on the planet things can only get worse (more violent).

    As far as getting the correct flood level in Brisbane and surrounds !!
    THe current study is built on old technology ! Mike 11 (1D modelling) with developments over the last 5 years there is now FREE and OPEN SOURCE 2D hydrodynamic software developed by the Australian Government that can and will accurately predict flood levels. It called ANUGA. IT was developed to model tsunami’s but I have been using to model floods and it is very accurate !!

    Brisbane City COuncil can download this software for Free and start developing their own accurate flood models !!!


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    Rudy, the sky is not falling in.

    Go and read John Oxleys diary of 1824, his survey of the Brisbane River before settlement. His observations of flood heights makes the 22 meters (recorded) in the Bremer look puney ! And he didn’t have an axe to grind.

    No, I’ll not post a link, go find it for yourself.


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    CHris .. Its not that simple…. in 1824 the catchments were far more vegetated, and as such appeared as higher roughness to water. Therefore a 1824 flood would be considerably higher, with less rainfall !

    So my point is that the sky might not be falling, but higher levels of moisture are… from the sky!
    THe sky is capable of holding more water now than it did in 1824, and thats why we can and will get higher levels of run off…. that may lead to higher flood levels, but of more concern the moving water will move faster than it did in 1824, it has higher momentum and hence more hazardous and dangerous! The catchments are generally smoother… so runoff is faster…


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    Treeman

    Rudy

    In 1824 the catchments were far more vegetated, and as such appeared as higher roughness to water.

    WOW the science of roughness is compelling but when one thinks about the vegetation back then, it stands to reason that more water would have been absorbed or slowed. Therefore a 1824 flood would be considerably lower, with more rainfall In 1893 the water levels in Brisbane flood were almost 2M higher than in 1974. The rain in 1893 must have been a helluva fall!

    moving water will move faster than it did in 1824, it has higher momentum and hence more hazardous and dangerous! The catchments are generally smoother… so runoff is faster…

    But Rudy, we did not get higher flood levels despite SEQW releasing water at worst possible time. We don’t need computer models 3d or otherwise to tell us which parts of Brisbane are flood prone, least of all anything based on ” ATMOSPHERIC ENERGISING or higher roughness to water”


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    Ian Mott

    Rudy@282, The actual science of roughness is a whole lot less compelling than the theory of roughness. The landscape may have appeared more vegetated in 1893 but this is not the case. Original old growth stems are still present and examples in the bayside area, with 1200mm mean annual RF, conform to the spacing ratio of 15 times stem diameter. These old stems had an average DBH (diameter at breast height) of 1.6 metres and were spaced 24m apart, with an average of only 16 trees per hectare. Further up the catchment in the 800 to 900mm zone the spacing would be much the same but with slightly smaller DBH. This open wooded parkland was produced and maintained by aboriginal firestick farming.

    This is entirely consistent with historical reports that very large cattle herds were driven from all over the catchment to Cleveland where they were made to swim out to waiting ships for transport to other markets. You could not do that in any forested part of the catchment today.

    Typical native forest in the catchment today has approximately 350 to 550 stems/ha with DBH from 28cm to 35cm, and at average spacings between 4.2m and 5.3m.

    Furthermore, these surveys only recorded stems with DBH greater than 20cm and, generally, about 20% of the basal area is comprised of a large number of these smaller stems which substantially increase flood flow roughness. At an average of 8cm DBH for these smaller stems it would take another 1,340 of them to occupy 20% of the basal area and they would be less than 2.4m apart. In fact, as most of the small stems will be concentrated away from the larger stems which tend to dominate their own site, their actual spacing will be less than 2.0m apart.

    This kind of forest still occupies more than 55% of the catchment and serious infestations of woody weeds take the “very rough” portion of the catchment to well over 65%. And the extensive areas of pavement that one might expect to off-set this roughness are all well downstream and only occupy about 1.5% of the total catchment area.

    So for roughness in flood flows it is a case of, nice theory, but pity about the facts.


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    Treeman

    Electrical Engineer

    We need your help with a submission. Please contact Jo for details.


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    Rudy

    Treeman is that directed at me?
    you can contact me via my email on my web site
    balancernd.com.au


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    brc

    Calling Treeman.

    Someone called David W is throwing off a lot of comments on this thread here about Wivenhoe and dam flows:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/28/model-trumps-observation-dam-operator-caught-in-fabrication

    I think you should weigh in with an outline of what you said in this thread.


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    It looks like is is copying straight off a SEQ Water troll sheet.
    I was going to jump in but i’m not sure of all the facts.


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    I missed most of this as I got in late. 4/4/2011

    On the Southern Cross 10 news,(local news in Hervey Bay) there was a section about Ian Chamberland (I think) making some claims about the SEQ water operation during the January floods. Apparently he was the head engineer / designer of Wivenhoe. The thing that got my attention was that his claims about the operation of the dam were “Dynamite”. Also he said the the dams operational manual, as it now is , should be burnt.

    Did anyone else see the news artical in Brisbane ???


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    Treeman

    Chris

    I saw it last night. Retired engineer Ian Chalmers has been somewhat controversial with his opinion. Since the floods in Brisbane he has gone from defending the dam operators. to criticising the operations manual in the space of less than two months, which is understandable as the magnitude of the mismanagement has taken time to sink in.

    Wivenhoe Somerset Dams Rainfall gives an excellent coverage of what happened.

    With the figures now confirmed a volume of water equivalent to 229.5 percent of the capacity flowed over the dam wall in January 2011. This is in addition to the 55.5 percent that had been released in October 2010 to December 2010. That total of 285.0 percent was lost without a Megalitre being saved.

    It gets worse, 25% of the Wivenhoe has now being released. This means that during the recent events we are 25% of the Wivenhoe capacity worse off than when it started.

    The dams have been full since March 2010. The then Deputy Premier Anna Bligh and Minister Hinchcliffe were alerted to this possibility of major losses occurring within one year on full dams. The alerts were on the 8th January 2008 to Deputy Premier Bligh and the relevant Minister Sterling Hinchcliffe on 19th March 2009.

    It gives me no pleasure to see that I was right. However it does give me the right to set down an alternative to these damaging floods. The alternative also gives real meaning to the words “drought proofing”.

    There was no reserve supply sufficient to permit early release of our FSL “drinking water” compartment to avoid damaging flooding. That water is regained at the back end of the flood.

    The Wivenhoe/Somerset provides 58% of all water that reaches the mouth of the Brisbane River. Its temporary retention clears the way for the Bremer River, Lockyer Creek and the Brisbane River itself to run free without damaging backwater in Ipswich .

    The Enquiry will be most interesting. Follow the live hearings here.


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    I’m glad someone else saw that.

    Sorry about my errors, but I had just walked in and it took a moment or two to realise what was going on.

    Thanks so much for the above links. I’ll be able to follow the hearings here in Hervey Bay.


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    Lachy

    As a resident of Mount Crosby I have a somewhat first-hand view of the flooding levels near the dam and I can tell you now there actually wasn’t much wrong with their operating procedure. The dam was releasing its theoretical max (the max before it starts flooding major urban areas downstream) until Friday. This kept the waters practically lapping at the base of the Mount Crosby Weir (a state the weir had been in for at least a week; they were ALREADY mitigating flooding). On the Saturday the gates were closed as the dam lowered to 100% capacity.

    By Monday morning, however, on my way to work at 4am, I was dismayed to approach the Weir and find it actually flooded! That would require at least 12 hours of water releases, so the operators must have cranked up releases sometime Sunday again. The devastation in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley didn’t occur until Monday, so your premise that they could have released more to accommodate the inflows is exactly what they were doing; I fail to see what you are whining about. Yes, they could have released water and put the dam under the 100% mark, but that is a legal issue!

    Perhaps it is worth remembering that this flood was 1m below the 1974 peak, yet had over twice the inflows. Sounds like mitigation worked from my perspective. Nothing is ever perfect: this is the real world we’re in.


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      brc

      I’ll explain it to you.

      W1 leaves Mt Crosby weir open.
      W2 overtops Mt Crosby weir.
      W3 floods low lying areas but protects Brisbane

      They are trying to say that W3 was followed from Saturday morning. Your evidence contradicts this (as does every other bit of evidence). They were operating W1 on Saturday, W2 on Sunday and didn’t start W3 until Monday.

      Whether they should have started W3 on Saturday is one for the forecasters to argue about.

      The plain fact is they are trying to tell us they were using the right strategy all the time, and they weren’t. They were holding back massive amounts of water in the face of a shocking weather forecast, all because they wanted to keep things like the Mt Crosby weir open. And now they are trying to lie about it and tell people like you your own eyes aren’t to be believed.


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    Treeman

    Vindicated and just in time for the Queensland election
    An investigation by The Australian also shows that, after the flood, dam operator SEQWater adopted a different position about its actions, inconsistent with its own comprehensive documentary evidence of the dam’s management.

    The investigation suggests SEQWater used the wrong operating strategy for the flood, contributing to the inundation of thousands of properties in Brisbane and Ipswich with a total cost to the economy of more than $5 billion.

    But neither the flood engineers nor SEQWater have been asked by the $15 million royal commission-style public inquiry, set up by Premier Anna Bligh, to explain the numerous references in many documents they created during the flood that show they were using the wrong strategy, based on dam levels.

    The full detail is behind a paywall this looks like the end of the road for the Bligh Labor government in Queensland.


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    Yes, Treeman. Of course they followed the manual, they just followed the wrong part of the manual for the critical 48 hours. And the sight of the skank basking in the media coverage of the aniversary made my skin crawl. All those people with devalued real estate and not one ounce of retribution.


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    Rudy

    The bit I haven’t seen discussed as yet is some very very basic hydrologic analysis and theory. If a long valley is dry, then there is a considerable LAG for flow to get from one end to the other (Down stream) THis lag reduces the peak flow quite considerably for long lenghts. If you now flood that same valley so that the dam is passing water through its spillway, and the reservoir is essentially a massive flat body of water, then any inflow into the reservoir around the entire perimeter of the reservoir appears almost immediately at the spillway in the way of a rise in the flooded surface, there is no lag, no reduction in peak flow, the only reduction is due to the dynamic storage in the reservoir itself.

    Therefore Dams can NEVER be successful in reducing peak flows in all storm events. Eventually one day an event will fill the dam, then it will rain some more, and people you haven’t seen nothin’ yet if you think the 2011 floods were bad!!

    The best policy is to map the flooding properly, and GET OUT OF THE WAY!

    By the way, once you build a dam, you really need to identify the potential flooded area, that results from a DAM break, and again get out of the way. So the best policies for long term flood protection cannot rely on Dams, it can only be achieved by land use planning and thorough flood mapping.


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    Treeman

    There’s more in today’s Australian.

    AN email exchange between two of Queensland’s most senior water officials seems to confirm that the wrong strategy was being used to manage Wivenhoe Dam, just one day before massive releases of water that flooded Brisbane.

    The emails were found yesterday in a large document not put on public display by the royal commission-style inquiry into the dam’s management, and are understood to have gone unnoticed until now……

    A finding by the inquiry that SEQWater’s flood engineers were operating in the wrong strategy, W1, throughout the weekend would have serious ramifications as it would mean they breached the dam’s operating manual and acted negligently. Such a finding would make the Queensland government potentially liable for a massive damages bill. The evidence collated by The Australian also raises the possibility that the inquiry has been misled.

    An inquiry spokesman said yesterday: “The commission is looking into the matter and . . . will comment further on the steps it intends to take in the coming days.”

    A senior lawyer for flooded residents, Darryl Rangiah SC, who has cross-examined the flood engineers during public hearings, yesterday urged the commission “to have the flood event log forensically examined to see whether there was any reference to when W3 was invoked that was subsequently deleted”.


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      brc

      To get around the paywall, just google ‘wivenhoe flood emails australian’. The story should be near the top, click through and read.

      Australian paywall drops when referrer is google.com – in a sop to the google search engine policies which ensure that the same page of html is readable from the search engine.

      Treeman – put me in the category of originally wrong. Probably there is a comment much further up this thread defending the operators at the time. Looks like I was completely wrong as it turns out. As always, a bit of education always overcomes ignorance if you can open your mind.


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        Treeman

        brc

        Many of us are originally wrong. Check out Lucy Skywalker’s personal story of awakening. It’s remarkably similar to my own and others I know and there’s a lot of it going on. Thank goodness for the net. Even Soros can’t get away with anything these days.

        Truth is we have been governed by incompetents across the globe and we should be grateful that it’s unravelling for them and that we’ve been able to contribute in some small way to their being held to account.


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      brc

      I’ve just read through a few articles – I cannot believe that Bligh et al are trying the ‘move along, nothing to see here, it’s in the past, etc’ approach. I suppose it’s bad form for elected officials to throw senior public servants under the bus, but what we’re being asked to believe is that:
      - W3 was invoked from Saturday morning
      - neither the dam level, operating settings, entry logs or emails between senior staff are consistent with W3

      What we are supposed to believe is that they were actually operating in W3 conditions, but they all decided to write ‘W1′ and ‘W2′ in their logs and emails to each other.

      Of all the whopping lies one is supposed to swallow this is even bigger than the porky-pie that someone else stole Craig Thomsons credit card and drivers licence, drove to Sydney on the same exact day he was there, donned a Craig Thomson mask, presented the stolen licence and credit card, exactly forged his signature, did the business and then returned said stolen items back to Craig so he didn’t notice they were missing.

      It’s time for people to stop this ridiculous bullshit being fed to the public, and time for people to be held accountable. You don’t get to enjoy a top salary and perks for being in charge of the largest piece of public infrastructure, screw it up at the crucial moment, and then say ‘oops, sorry about that’.

      Either the government is protecting the dam operators or the dam operators are protecting the government in a merry-go-round of lies and hind-covering. Either way, it’s got to stop.

      The worst thing in all this is that this gross mismanagement and is going to end up paying out compensation to property owners. And that compensation is going to come out of us, the sore and sorry ratepayers of SEQ who have been taking an absolute bruising from a decade of incompetence. So we’ll not only pay for the stupid pipes to nowhere, the idle desalination plant, the forced acquisition of council water infrastructure, the creation (and subsequent destruction) of quasi-corporate water companies but now we’ll have to pay compensation to people who got property ruined because there was too much water!

      How you can mismanage water in a sub-tropical climate where it rains for half the year is beyond my comprehension. All you need is enough dams commensurate with the population, and they will fill up and keep you watered in the dry times.

      Ironically enough this all goes back to Kevin Rudd, who canned the last major water infrastructure project floated to supply SEQ long-term water needs.

      IS THERE NOTHING THESE ALP MORONS CAN’T DESTROY. IS THERE NO AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT WILL BE WASTED ON IDIOTIC CLIMATE CHANGE FOLLIES? WHEN WILL IT EVER STOP?


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    I have just read through some articles after the Google search and I cannot believe what Bligh was quoted as saying in the Weekly Times.

    From the weekly Times

    She said the inquiry concluded that although it had been recorded that the engineers were following the W1 strategy, they had actually followed the correct strategy, W3, but had labelled it incorrectly.

    “The commission of inquiry made the assessment that in fact the dam was being operated as it was required to be at W3 at 8am on January the 8th,” Ms Bligh said.

    “This was not always recorded accurately as it should have been.

    brc, I could not put it any better than you have, words just fail me.

    They must truly think the public are fools, and they could be right !


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      brc

      Chris – I’m going to only pay 1/3rd my next water bill when the people at SEQ Water send it to me.

      When they chase me up for the difference, I’ll respond ‘You’re looking at a labelling error. I actually paid the full amount, plus another 10% bonus as a reward for you guys doing such a great job.’.

      Such gross lying should not be taken lightly or escape punishment. Imagine if a banking or mining CEO had said such a thing. The media need to make this the Bligh Government tombstone. The Australian is trying, I’ll watch to see if the lame Courier Mail bother with it. I think they are actually trying to frame the upcoming election as a two-sided battle with an eye to selling papers in the election period, and are trying to muster some support for Bligh in the interest of selling papers. If the crowd at the Brisbane International tennis is anything to go by, Campbell Newman and team will just have to show up and say nothing to take home the goods.


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    Treeman

    And here’s the nuts and bolts of it.

    The Australian understands Ms Bligh will today announce local government elections scheduled for March 31 will be pushed back to after Easter, threatening a backlash from councils around the state.

    After a series of exclusive reports in The Australian revealing documents and emails that point to breaches of Wivenhoe’s operating manual, key SEQWater witnesses, including the flood engineers and senior executives, will front the inquiry for at least six days of public hearings. Inquiry head Cate Holmes has requested that her reporting date of February 24 be pushed back to accommodate the new hearings, cutting into the time available for a state election before the end of the Bligh government’s three-year term on March 31.

    Bligh shifts local polls past Easter
    Whiff of a cover-up changes politics
    Ms Bligh sought “urgent” legal advice on her options.
    Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman insisted the commission of inquiry should take “as much time as it needs”.
    “I think the matters raised in The Australian are of such significant gravity that they must be examined in more detail,” he said.
    The decision to reopen the floods inquiry comes as The Australian can reveal today that SEQWater’s official account of the operation of Wivenhoe Dam in January last year was changed after an emergency meeting of Ms Bligh’s cabinet on January 17.

    The next few weeks here in SEQ will be very interesting!


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    It has been an interesting morning going back over the whole thread.

    I even went back to the Bishop Hill site and was still able to add a comment.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/1/15/more-on-brisbane-floods.html?currentPage=3#comments

    (More people should know what is going on here.)

    From “Yes Minister”, Not to put a sharp point on it, and in the fullness of time, we have been vindicated.


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    Treeman

    And here is the coup de gras and what a classic it is.

    Nicholson cartoon caption says:

    I think it’s time to move to Strategy WTF!

    and Michael McKenna writes:

    Ever since the swamping of Brisbane, and despite lingering questions about the operation of the state-run Wivenhoe Dam, the politics of the flood have been largely benign.

    Now there is the whiff of a cover-up of a monumental failure in the dam’s management, which compounded the flooding that hit thousands of homes in Brisbane last January and was linked to one death.

    A blight on Queensland will soon be removed. She’s called an election!

    ANNA Bligh has called a state election for March 24 to allow voters to know the “truth” about authorities’ handling of last year’s floods….she was forced to commit to an election date after the floods inquiry was recalled over revelations in The Australian that flood preparations last year may have been botched.

    The feel good about Queensland govt paid adds have been inundating free for air here to the extent it makes me want to spew every time.


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    Streaming video from the enquiry at http://www.floodcommission.qld.gov.au/hearings

    Everyone in SE Queensland, who has the chance, should be watching this.


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    Electrical Engineer

    They are trying to say that W3 was followed from Saturday morning.

    Blind Freddy could tell you they weren’t operating W3 until Sunday night. They didn’t close Fernvale bridge until 1 AM Monday morning. Closing Fernvale bridge (to allow releases that flood it) is necessary for W3.


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    Chris in Hervey Bay

    I could not believe that Tibaldi could not remember even what year he started working for SEQWater. Anyone who really has an interest in their career, surely knows when they started. But then, in my last years in the workforce, I was seeing people turn up for work just to get paid, and had no interest in what they did. I guess Tibaldi is just another example, just take the money and run, without realising what responsibilities were attached to the monster pay packet. He didn’t think he was employed as a “professional report writer” !!

    I started my first job in industry after Uni. on the 6th September 1965, not real hard to remember !


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    Treeman

    There is no doubt the general political tone here in South East Queensland has changed radically since the Enquiry was extended. There’s even talk today of a Rudd challenge before the Queensland election. I’m gobsmacked by the claim they were operating W3 over the weekend. Their own press releases suggest otherwise. I clipped these from the Hoisted on their own petard are SEQ Water and I hope the impact is as far reaching as the dirty water that swilled into so many homes.

    MEDIA RELEASE – 8 JANUARY 2011
    Dam releases
    With recent heavy rainfall across South East Queensland and the forecast of more to come, releases are being made from some of the region’s water storages.

Water from Somerset Dam is being released into Wivenhoe Dam through one gate.

At Wivenhoe Dam, all five gates are now open. Releases are expected to reach around 100,000 megalitres a day by this afternoon. Releases will be reviewed and may change depending on rainfall, inflows into the dam and river flows.

Wivenhoe Dam releases may impact upon Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge and Colleges Crossing for several days. Local councils should be consulted for detailed information on road crossing closures and other impacts.

At this stage, no impacts are expected for Fernvale Bridge or Mt Crosby Weir Bridge, although this may change depending on rainfall.

Spillway gate operations commenced during the evening of Thursday 6 January 2011. These releases may continue until next week, depending upon further rainfall.

    MEDIA RELEASE – 9 JANUARY 2011
    Dam releases
    With recent heavy rainfall across South East Queensland and the forecast of more to come, releases are being made from some of the region’s water storages. Based on current forecasts, all release operations may change at short notice.

Water from Somerset Dam is being released into Wivenhoe Dam through the sluice gates.

At Wivenhoe Dam, releases commenced during the evening of Thursday 6 January 2011, with all five gates opened by Saturday 8 January 2011. Releases have reached around 116,000 megalitres a day. Gate operations will continue to be reviewed and may change at short notice depending on rainfall, inflows into the dam and river flows. 

Wivenhoe Dam releases may impact upon Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge and Colleges Crossing for several days. Local councils should be consulted for detailed information on road crossing closures and other impacts.

At this stage, no impacts are expected for Fernvale Bridge or Mt Crosby Weir Bridge, although this may change depending on rainfall.

These releases are expected to continue until next week.

Release operations at North Pine Dam are being reviewed and may result in the closure of gates later today or tomorrow, however this action is dependent on whether further rainfall is received in the catchment.

Releases from Leslie Harrison Dam have now ceased, however further inflows received may see gate operations re-occur at short notice.

Minor releases through the emergency gates of Hinze Dam have commenced.

The Water Grid is continuing to work with local councils regarding the current releases and the likely impacts, which are being managed in accordance with approved flood management plans.

    MEDIA RELEASE – 10 JANUARY 2011
    Dam releases
    Significant rainfall in the catchments has lifted Wivenhoe Dam’s level to 154 per cent and Somerset Dam to 158 per cent, despite continuing releases.
    Although releases are being made, large quantities of water continue to flow into the dams. Water is being held back in order to manage impacts downstream and allow for other inflows from urban runoff, the Lockyer and Bremer Rivers to subside.

Overnight, Fernvale and Mt Crosby Weir Bridges together with a number of local roads became inundated. They joined the others already impacted, including Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge and Colleges Crossing.

In order to relieve the quickly filling flood storage compartment, and with more rain forecast, controlled releases from the dam have been increased today from 116,000 megalitres per day to 172,000 megalitres per day. Further increases to the release rate are planned, to approximately 240,000 megalitres per day by midnight.

    MEDIA RELEASE – 11 JANUARY 2011
    UNPRECEDENTED WIVENHOE DAM RELEASES
    NOTE: All SEQ dams are safe, stable and operating within their design specifications.
    Significant rainfall received across catchments has caused waterways upstream of Somerset and Wivenhoe Dams to rise quickly overnight.
    Wivenhoe Dam is currently at 173% and rising. Somerset Dam is at 160%.
    Controlled releases through the five gates have been held at around 236,000 megalitres since early last night but will need to be increased further today.
    These releases will are being made in consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology and local councils and aim to limit downstream impacts where possible.
    Note these large releases are necessary for the safe management of the dam.


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    Treeman

    Sorry about incomplete sentence. I clipped the Press releases from Water Grid News


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    brc

    Treeman – from swimming against the tide here in the comments to the front 3 pages of the Courier Mail today – now that is vindication.

    I’m guessing someone is going to do some time over this one, if only for perjury.

    But the real question is – where did the chain of command go up to? Who is going to be the scapegoat? I find it hard to imagine the engineers getting grilled are the top of the decision making/responsibility chain.

    This and the organised Australia day riot has quite shaken my belief in public institutions in this country.


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    Treeman

    Hung, drawn and quartered….All I can say is thank goodness for Hedley’s determination to get to the bottom of this whole sick and sorry saga. Bligh minister Stephen Robertson has presided over a number of debacles over the years he’s been a Labor minister. This one must surely be the the most costly. I’d love to hear the recording in full. I’ve clipped the key points below.

    TWO of the most senior water executives in Queensland have broken ranks by telling the floods commission of inquiry that at all times during the devastating floods in January last year, they were of the view that Wivenhoe Dam was run in a strategy subsequently shown to be wrong.

    The new statements by Barry Dennien, chief executive of the Water Grid, and his deputy, Dan Spiller, contradict the earlier evidence of the dam’s flood engineers who disown their emails, situation reports and other documents showing they were in the wrong strategy. The flood engineers say they were in the correct strategy, but that all their communications were wrong.

    In new public hearings initiated after an investigation by The Australian exposed serious anomalies in the evidence, the flood engineers have been repeatedly accused by Peter Callaghan SC, senior counsel assisting the inquiry, of breaching the dam’s manual, concocting a cover-up and falsifying the contents of a comprehensive SEQWater report released in March last year.

    The March report became a crucial exhibit for the inquiry as well as the template for independent experts to rely on to give SEQWater the seal of approval for its performance in the flood. The flood engineers have strenuously denied they breached the manual and orchestrated a cover-up.

    The Bligh government said last night it had been advised by SEQWater that two of its flood engineers were no longer available for dam operations. The engineers were not named.
    Mr Dennien has revealed the existence of a recording of a critical meeting of SEQWater executives, local government heads, the then Bligh government minister for natural resources, Stephen Robertson, and the then head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Ken Smith.

    Mr Dennien said the teleconference at 12.30pm on Monday, January 10, last year was recorded by Scott Denner, director of risk and technology of the WaterGrid manager, to produce minutes, but “no formal minutes were subsequently recorded”.

    The recording was made the day before flood engineers were forced to make massive releases of water that flooded thousands of properties and caused a backflow that submerged large areas of Ipswich. The releases at twice the flow that causes damage to Brisbane became imperative because the dam’s structural integrity was at risk as it had almost run out of storage space.

    Mr Dennien said in his new statement that his “understanding of the strategies adopted and their timing” was that the engineers had remained in W1 until the evening of Sunday, January 9. This directly contradicts the evidence of the engineers, who insist they changed strategy at 8am on January 8.

    Mr Dennien said his view at the time and now was informed by the technical situation reports he had been sent during the flood. He said he understood the flood operation strategy on the morning of Monday, January 10, was W2.

    This is another direct contradiction of the evidence of the flood engineers, who said they bypassed W2.

    Mr Dennien said he understood “the transition from strategy W2 to strategy W3 occurred sometime later in the day on 10 January, 2011″.

    This was more than 48 hours after the engineers claimed it had occurred, and raises questions about how much of the flooding of Brisbane and surrounding areas was avoidable.

    Mr Spiller said: “The transition from strategy W1 to strategy W2 occurred on the evening of Sunday, 9 January, 2011.”


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    If any one wants to know the extent of the difference in flooding.
    Then given the actual and plausible hydrographs (flow releases from the dam) and a descent terrain model it is relatively easy using the free and Open Source model ANUGA.
    I have just completed a Dam BReak model of the 1928 St Francis Dam in California, showing accurately the extent of flooding down the 87km long river valley. Indeed it shows the extreme nature of a dam break with large shock waves and sloshing across the river valley. This is in line with what was in evidence after the dam break.

    ANUGA is freely downloadable (and developed by Geoscience Australia)


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      Treeman

      Rudy

      I agree we should be doing all you say but there is compelling evidence that Wivenhoe could have been successful in mitigating the flood if managed correctly. There is more today in The Australian This comment is worth taking into account.

      J. V. Hodgkinson of Holland Park Brisbane 4121 Posted at 8:13 AM Today
      The arithmetic of the 2011 flood gives one a clear view. The joint flood comparments of the Wivenhoe/Somerset total 1,974,000ML setting aside the fuse plugs. Seqwater log presented to us all claim the 2011 flood as 2,600,000ML. Up to Sunday the 9th January there was a clear demarcation in their log of 34 hours without rain between a small flood and the main flood. Seqwater log demonstrate that the small flood had a volume of 569,000ML either in the dam or inflow to occur through known rainfall. The argument is that if this 569,000ML had been released then there was capacity to retain the entire major flood without damage to Ipswich and Brisbane. Flood volume 2,600,000ML – small flood 569,000ML = 2,031,000ML (including runoff over some weeks) with flood compartments of 1,974,000ML = no damage to Ipswich and Brisbane. Some of the small flood was released and this is the nub of the argument- how much. Mr Ruffini has indicated that he did not take into account the BOM predictions of major inflows. With the two major inflows on them, the decision was taken to release over half of the Wivenhoe in 6 hours creating the damaging flow. At the six hour mark the rain stopped.


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    Radio news this morning suggest that Anna Bligh will be called to appear before the inquiry. Now THAT is vindication. Well done Treeman and other “good men and true”, we have not only outwitted the gorgons, we may well have the head of medusa to boot.


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      Treeman

      Cheers Ian but you galvanised it in the first place with this post.


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        Treeman,

        At the time of the flood, I was not coming to this site, so while this was all happening here at this site at that time, I was doing my own thing along similar lines at the site that I contribute to.

        I’m going to go over this Thread here and read it through, but might you have a look at what I had to say at the time and see if there’s anything new, which I doubt.

        At the time I took screen prints of the levels of both Somerset and also Wivenhoe, and I drew my own conclusions from the aspect of a lay opinion, as I am no expert.

        It’s a long Post, because I had to keep it all in the one place, and it may not even be of any interest to you at all.

        Wivenhoe Dam Levels – The Critical Days

        Tony.


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          Treeman

          Tony
          I’ve read with great interest your dam level info. Rather than Wivenhoe data, I recorded the BOM info which is presented as data and also graphically in six hour intervals. Like you I took screen prints and have them archived. The info I have and that recorded by colleagues reinforce the recent statements that Wivenhoe dam levels required W3 strategy releases on Saturday. I’ve also archived the press releases and these detail the volumes released each day and the reasons for that. It’s quite clear from the press releases that a focus was on minimal disruption to the crossings below the dam.

          MEDIA RELEASE – 8 JANUARY 2011
          Dam releases
          With recent heavy rainfall across South East Queensland and the forecast of more to come, releases are being made from some of the region’s water storages.

Water from Somerset Dam is being released into Wivenhoe Dam through one gate.

At Wivenhoe Dam, all five gates are now open. Releases are expected to reach around 100,000 megalitres a day by this afternoon. Releases will be reviewed and may change depending on rainfall, inflows into the dam and river flows.

Wivenhoe Dam releases may impact upon Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge and Colleges Crossing for several days. Local councils should be consulted for detailed information on road crossing closures and other impacts.

At this stage, no impacts are expected for Fernvale Bridge or Mt Crosby Weir Bridge, although this may change depending on rainfall.

Spillway gate operations commenced during the evening of Thursday 6 January 2011. These releases may continue until next week, depending upon further rainfall.



          MEDIA RELEASE – 9 JANUARY 2011
          Dam releases
          With recent heavy rainfall across South East Queensland and the forecast of more to come, releases are being made from some of the region’s water storages. Based on current forecasts, all release operations may change at short notice.

Water from Somerset Dam is being released into Wivenhoe Dam through the sluice gates.

At Wivenhoe Dam, releases commenced during the evening of Thursday 6 January 2011, with all five gates opened by Saturday 8 January 2011. Releases have reached around 116,000 megalitres a day. Gate operations will continue to be reviewed and may change at short notice depending on rainfall, inflows into the dam and river flows. 

Wivenhoe Dam releases may impact upon Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge and Colleges Crossing for several days. Local councils should be consulted for detailed information on road crossing closures and other impacts.

At this stage, no impacts are expected for Fernvale Bridge or Mt Crosby Weir Bridge, although this may change depending on rainfall.

These releases are expected to continue until next week.



          MEDIA RELEASE – 10 JANUARY 2011
          Dam releases
          Significant rainfall across the catchment has lifted Wivenhoe Dam’s level to above 140 per cent and Somerset Dam to above 150 per cent.
          Although releases are being made, large quantities of water continue to flow into the dams and are being held back in order to manage impacts downstream and allow for other inflows from urban runoff, and the Lockyer and Bremer Rivers to subside.

Overnight, Fernvale and Mt Crosby Weir Bridges together with a number of local roads became inundated. They joined the others already impacted, including Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge and Colleges Crossing.

In order to relieve the quickly filling flood storage compartment, and with more rain forecast, controlled releases from the dam have been increased today from 116,000 megalitres per day to 170,000 megalitres per day. These releases are a necessity.

Releases are being reviewed in consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology and local councils, utilising a strategy to limit impacts where possible downstream.

Water from Somerset Dam is being released into Wivenhoe Dam through the sluice gates.





          MEDIA RELEASE – 11 JANUARY 2011
          UNPRECEDENTED WIVENHOE DAM RELEASES
          NOTE: All SEQ dams are safe, stable and operating within their design specifications.
          Significant rainfall received across catchments has caused waterways upstream of Somerset and Wivenhoe Dams to rise quickly overnight.
          Wivenhoe Dam is currently at 173% and rising. Somerset Dam is at 160%.
          Controlled releases through the five gates have been held at around 236,000 megalitres since early last night but will need to be increased further today.
          These releases will are being made in consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology and local councils and aim to limit downstream impacts where possible.
          Note these large releases are necessary for the safe management of the dam.
          Release levels will be progressively reviewed depending on rainfall across the catchments today.
          Local Councils have been advised that as a result of Lockyer Creek flows, local runoff and Wivenhoe releases, Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing, Burtons Bridge, Kholo Bridge Colleges Crossing, Fernvale Bridge, and Mt Crosby Weir Bridge may be inundated until at Sunday 16 January.
          Residents are urged to contact local councils for detailed information on road crossing closures and other impacts.
          All recreations areas around Somerset and Wivenhoe are closed, and given the dam levels and the need for safety around spillways, we will not be able to facilitate any land-based media access to our sites today.
          While substantial amounts of water is being released into Wivenhoe from Somerset Dam, water levels in Somerset are expected to continue to rising today and areas around Kilcoy are likely to be impacted by these rising dam levels.

          It’s interesting that I’ve archived two press releases from 10th January, one stating dam levels at Wivenhoe 140 per cent and Somerset Dam to above 150 per cent. The other press release describes Wivenhoe Dam’s level at 154 per cent and Somerset Dam to 158 per cent, “despite continuing releases” They were however only releasing 116,000 megaliths per day at the time, with expressed intent to increase to 170,000 megaliters….

          We live in very interesting times and a good deal more so here in SEQ!


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    Electrical Engineer

    The engineers were not named.

    They are Tibaldi and Malone who have “taken special leave” and are no longer available for the inquiry.

    They should, however, get back Ayre who told the inquiry on the 11th April last year after Callaghan asked “Well, you’re saying that no forecast rainfall is the best forecast rainfall?” Ayre said:

    “It’s been proven to be the most available in the past, yes.”

    Ayre is trying to match Alice in Wonderland. If they had used the predicted lake level as required by the manual then they would have switched to W4 at 1 AM Monday morning instead of 31 hours later. This should have made a huge difference to the flood peak flow. They would no longer have been constrained to the limits of W3 and for a start could have ramped-up the gate openings much faster.

    I haven’t noticed the inquiry in the last week coming back to this issue yet. If it doesn’t then it will be a huge oversight.


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    crakar24

    How long before Mr Panasonic is required to give evidence in a court of law?


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      I see that the Commission has called Stephen Robertson to appear before it. He is the current Minister for Energy and Water Utilites.

      Perhaps one other also needs to be called.

      He shall remain nameless here other than he had a propensity, in his position as Deputy Premier, to call a media conference within 5 minutes of Anna Bligh being out of the State on any business, hence bumping him up to Acting Premier.

      His ‘lead me to the cameras’ attitude was at times quite grating, and unfair as it may be to name him, his initials are Paul Lucas.

      At the same time as he was Deputy Premier, he was also the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning.

      At the time of ‘mooting’ the Water Grid, and while Anna was out of the State he gave a very revealing interview on CoastFM on the Gold Coast one morning, speaking over his mobile phone from his Government car en-route to somewhere where there was cameras.

      The interview was about the water grid, mainly from the perspective of the Gold Coast losing sole access to the water behind Hinze Dam, when Brisbane had draconian water restrictions and the Gold Coast did not. His main thrust was that ‘we’ should all be pulling together on this. The Gold Coast Desal Plant also got a mention as well. Climate Change and Global Warming were also trucked out as he waffled on.

      I listened for the duration, incredulous as to what he was saying.

      At a later date I phoned the Radio Station and asked if they had taped the conversation, but obviously being something he would not like publicised, and this being a subsidiary of the ABC, I was politely told that there was no tape.

      If there was a tape of that conversation, it would be very revealing indeed.

      He was asked if or when the draconian water restrictions might be lifted, and, in almost a last gasp throwaway comment, he sneeringly suggested that might be perhaps when Wivenhoe reached 85%, thinking that level would never be reached again, a level that in fact was reached just a little more than two years after this interview.

      Hey, you guessed it. Water restrictions were not eased at all.

      I know this is hearsay, and I’ll bet Mr Lucas is just so glad that interview was not recorded.

      I mentioned that interview in the middle Post of my own 3 part series on Wivenhoe at the link below.

      Wivenhoe Dam Levels – Background – After the 1974 Flood

      Tony.


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    Electrical Engineer

    They are Tibaldi and Malone who have “taken special leave” and are no longer available for the inquiry.

    Sorry, they can continue assisting the inquiry, they’re just not working.


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    People around the world (who speak little english) can download and setup working flood models in 2 Hours. To provide a relatively accurate representation of flood behaviour.
    Thats right, with no prior experience with the ANUGA model, researchers in Holland have downloaded the ANUGA software, and produced a working Dike Rupture Model, that shows the impact of this event. The model was downloaded after heavy rain a few days ago.
    See:
    http://research.geodan.nl/?p=466


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    Electrical Engineer

    One thing the inquiry has been spending a lot of time on recently is considering the actions undertaken on Saturday the 8th after W3 should have been in effect. The problem with this is that the engineers were more-or-less doing the right thing at that time and the only argument is about using the name W3 which is not an argument with a lot of substance (at that time). So I’m concerned that the inquiry is wasting a lot of time on an issue without a lot of substance.

    What the inquiry should be concentrating on is the events of Sunday the 9th when the engineers stuffed-up in a major way beginning at 8 AM when the expected lake level was 69.5 metres (1 metre too high) and should have been blindingly obvious at 2 PM when the expected lake level was 71.3 metres (70.0 metres even ignoring further rainfall). That was when failure to satisfy W3 really did matter.

    I’m not entirely confident that the inquiry is going to deal with these issues properly before it finishes next week. And I’m not confident at all that it will deal properly with the issue that there should have been a switch to W4 at 1 AM Sunday. The engineers actions in relation to the switch to W4 show they had a mediocre understanding of their objectives.


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    Electrical Engineer

    The engineers actions in relation to the switch to W4 show they had a mediocre understanding of their objectives.

    Or at least, how to achieve their objectives.

    On that issue, the SEQWater report section on Flood Management Strategies and Flood Manual Compliance says:

    A discussion with the Dam Safety Regulator was held at 21:00 (10th January) to obtain permission to exceed a level of 74m in Wivenhoe Dam for a short period without invoking Strategy W4 (provided the safety of the dam could be gauranteed).

    The dam operators obviously didn’t understand that invoking W4 did not mean they had to rapidly ramp-up releases until outflow exceeded inflow. W4 simply means that releases do not need to be restricted to the limits applying to W3. This means that as long as the releases are sufficient to protect the dam, the operators can control them so that urban flooding is minimized. Hence the earlier W4 is declared, the more time is available for flood-causing releases to be spread over and the lower the peak flood flow rate needs to be. The Wivenhoe engineers did not understand this.

    As I said before, W4 should have been declared 1 AM Monday morning. My guess without calculating is that they could easily have kept the releases down to 4,000 m3/sec starting soon after 1 AM Monday morning instead of their peak of 7,464 m3/sec. And this is without doing anything differently before 1 AM Monday morning which we already know was a huge mistake.

    Anyway, the inquiry timing looks like it’s turning into a politically-motivated farce. Terrible really but not as bad as things looked a few weeks ago.


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      Treeman

      Electrical Engineer

      Good points all. I trust you have the means to communicate them to the Enquiry. If not, please email Jo directly as one of my colleagues is prepared to do so.


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    Treeman

    Here we go again. Today’s courier mail describes another flaw in the investigation

    ONE week out from the flood inquiry report that delayed state and council elections, The Courier-Mail has uncovered another serious flaw in the investigation tasked with finding out what went wrong in 2011.

    A Courier-Mail analysis of data commissioned by the inquiry but never published shows thousands of homes would have been spared flooding in 2011 and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage avoided under alternative dam management strategies devised by the inquiry.

    Its hydrology expert, Mark Babister, had to generate the data for a key report into these strategies but he was never asked to produce the information and was not questioned about it during hearings.

    This interactive of flood flows is telling


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    Thanks for this, Treeman. They really do need to be dragged, kicking, to do a proper investigation. I wonder how many voters in the seat of Ashgrove were only flooded due to incompetent flow management.


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    Treeman

    Wouldn’t you know it. They messed up and then covered it up.

    Those in direct control of the dam knew they had breached the manual. Three of them then made the decision to cover up their mistakes and invent what happened. As the floods inquiry finds, the three knew what they were doing when they did it.

    The flood engineers have engendered a lot of public sympathy. They are professionals. They were doing their best in a crisis. They worked under difficult conditions.They have endured severe criticism. All of this is true.

    But they should have understood that by going down the path of a cover-up, they were not just misleading the public, and a royal commission-style probe – they were putting their personal interests ahead of thousands of people who were ruined by the January flood.

    Hedley Thomas describes just how the wrong doing was uncovered and suggests that non sceptical journalists helped hide the truth.

    The issues were complex, revolving around hydrology, hydrodynamic modelling, and detailed release strategies, but they should have been subjected to better analysis in the media. Yet most journalists concentrated their efforts instead on human interest angles arising from those who were flooded, instead of how it happened.

    If journalists had spent more time being sceptical, the truth could have emerged much sooner. But for a year, despite nuggets of evidence that pointed to SEQWater gilding the lily with many assertions about the scale and circumstances surrounding the event, the unvarnished truth remained elusive. The floods inquiry contributed to this with its interim report and public hearings that indicated it largely accepted the official line.

    The lack of rigour by journalists dovetailed with a quietly effective campaign of spin and misinformation by SEQWater to discredit The Australian’s work until the breakthrough that Craigie provided. Peter Borrows, the chief executive of SEQWater, issued a call last August for the public questioning of how the dam was operated to cease. It was a call aimed at The Australian.

    Non sceptical journalists hiding the truth? Now where have we all heard that before?


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      Kevin Moore

      If water inflows took their natural course without the impediment of manmade blockages and releases what would have been the extent of the flooding?


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        Treeman

        Kevin

        It’s been stated today that the flood level would have been 1.5m higher if the dams had never been built but that is not the point. Wivenhoe and Somerset dams have flood mitigation compartments and it is these compartments that have been mismanaged. A more valid question would be have been the extent of the flooding if water had been maintained at 100 of storage in Wivenhoe from 7th January instead of allowing the storage to get to 160% in both dams come Monday 10th January. Have a look here at the interactive simulation and learn exactly how they stuffed it up.


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    Treeman

    Sorry. Link to interactive simulation here.


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    Lachy

    This shows the hydrograph at Wivenhoe during the flood event:

    http://wivenhoesomersetrainfall.com/images/2011%20Major%20Minor%202011_0001.jpg

    The darker blue is inflows which is an independent variable in this case. The others are dependents – the light blue represents outflow releases and red represents headwater elevation (which rises when inflows > outflows, and falls when outflows > inflows… simple enough!).

    Also, the flood report has been released which contends that the engineers did breach the manual and were operating the dam in W1 up to Sunday evening instead of moving to W3 on Saturday morning. Looking at the hydrograph the information present at that time (8th to 9th) show that the catastrophic inflows that caused the headwater elevation to grow beyond ~115% capacity occurred on the cusp of their transition to W2/W3 (which is represented by the indented rise in outflows) on the evening of Sunday 9 January, and then to W4 (the huge increase) on Tuesday when the headwater elevation reached beyond 74m. Headwater elevation was stabilising since inflows were close to outflows around Monday night/Tuesday morning, before the second great pulse of inflows which made it necessary to move to W4 and drastically ramp up releases. Based on the data alone, they were in breach of the manual as W2/W3 should have been initiated earlier (the dam reached the transition point 68.5m on the weekend but they didn’t move to higher releases until Sunday evening), but based on flow rates downstream (“protecting urban areas from flooding” mandate in W2/W3 is based on a “threshold for damaging floods” of 4,000m3/s at Moggill) they could have boosted releases by about 1,000m3/s or 84,600ML/day (flow rates were ~2,900m3/s at Moggill for the week beforehand, so they only had 1,000m3/s of releases that would adequately protect urban areas from flooding). Over 36 hours this would have contributed to an extra release of 126,900ML or a pitiful 5.4% capacity of the dam. At the inflow rates later on Sunday, after their “breach of manual” period as outlined in the Commission Report, that extra capacity would have bought the engineers about 30 minutes reprieve. This analysis basically concludes that their breach of the manual led to a trivial change in flood mitigation outcome – indeed, the modelling done for the commission by Sinclair Knight-Mertz shows that under an ideal perfect scenario the flood could have been reduced by 90cm at Moggill and 30cm at the City Gauge. At the peak height of the flood, Wivenhoe’s releases contributed only half the total volumes; the rest was Lockyer, Bremer and then the sum of local catchments around Brisbane. Wivenhoe releases contributed the bulk of flood waters after the peak during the drawdown of the flood compartment.

    The engineers rightly should stand at the CMC but it has nothing to do with mismanaging the dam: it is for misleading the commission with false information. Any claims of compensation in class action have to demonstrate that the damages were caused by mismanagement of the dam, inferring that if the dam was managed correctly (in this case, within the manual) the damages would not have happened. It is clear that this condition won’t be met. This is intuitively just as well – you cannot blame Seqwater for damages that were going to happen regardless. I don’t want to see people waste money paying expensive lawyers to sue Seqwater for the next 10 years to no effect.

    At the very least, the above hydrograph and information contained in the flood report should silence those who have fantasy ideas that the flooding would “not have occurred”. It was going to happen whether they followed standard operating procedure or not. I have only a preliminary education in hydrology and flood engineering (my ongoing Uni background in geography) so I am probably not correct in my analysis, but I like to have a go at critical thinking which is more than can be said for emotive comments that spout nonsense on comments sections of newspapers. If you can see something wrong with what I have written above I’d love some feedback.


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    Sorry, you are wrong Larchy. You are assuming that the manual itself is not negligent. The engineers may have made only minor departures from the manual. But the courts will need to ask whether the manual was capable of allowing all reasonable and practical steps to prevent harm. If it actually impeded the engineers in the discharge of their duty of care in respect of a dangerous thing then it will be soon-to-be former Minister Robertson who will have the case to answer.

    Floods of that scale were, and remain, entirely foreseeable and the operation of a flood mitigation dam on the basis of actual inflows on the day, rather than actual stream flows up to 24 hours further up stream, falls well short of world best practice. The engineers have a defence, Minister Robertson has no excuse.


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    Lachy

    Yeah I do recall the Commission Flood report mentioned the manual was pretty worthless and requires major revision. My entire account is based on them following the manual (as are the independent models that showed them doing a good job), not world best practice so you are most probably correct Ian. In fact I think there was a study of Australian dams which stated Wivenhoe fell short of the standards of a flood mitigation dam.

    As for the class action, it will still fail because Seqwater has immunity under the Water Act even if the manual is ineffective. They are liable because the engineers didn’t follow it, but my understanding (again, correct me if I am wrong here) was that the manual being ineffective in itself has no bearing on liability so it isn’t considered. So the courts will go with the line of reasoning I used in my first comment – that given the manual constraints (regardless of how correct it may be) can you prove your damages would not have occurred?


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