Can't put a price on flood protection

Kidd St as the water peaked December 31, 2010.
Kidd St as the water peaked December 31, 2010. Jodi Harrold

RECOMMENDATIONS from a Central Highlands Regional Council-commissioned flood study would help to protect strategic areas of Emerald against future events, Mayor Peter Maguire said.

Hydrologist Geoff Kavanagh presented his findings for the C&R Consulting report, identifying the Nogoa River rail bridge and LN1 drain as priority works.

Not wide enough, not able to consistently process large volumes of floodwater and blocking access to the old river course were the criticisms levelled by Mr Kavanagh about the LN1.

He told councillors it was vital for future town planning decision to understand flood flow paths in secondary affected areas and protect development by mandating no more than 50% of each lot's surface area contained housing or infrastructure.

"One of the recommendations in the report is to understand flow paths… to maintain the existing floodplain through town planning and to not impede it any more," Mr Kavanagh said.

"(That will) protect the secondary flow path areas."

Cr Maguire said the recommendations were uncosted, and would require the support of Queensland Rail, SunWater and Main Roads.

"What I will be saying to the State Government about the issues raised in this study is they throw millions and billions at other stuff around the state, and it's about time they did something around here," Cr Maguire said.

"People who have been impacted now twice, in my view, really don't care about how much it costs, they want to see something done... and any work is not achievable this year.

"Hopefully it won't be a bad wet season."

The C&R report said its recommendations would maximise the flow of water through the floodplain and limit the impact on Emerald.

Engineering consultant KBR also presented their audit of flood information.

C&R Consulting flood study recommendations:

Increased flow path under the Nogoa River rail bridge by inserting a small bridge or eight culverts to increase flow capacity by 20%.

Elevate New St by 1.47m with two 750mm pipes at ground level to allow flow from the west and south of the rail line to make its way back into the river.

Increased flow in the LN1 drain under the Gregory Hwy with three 2.1m x 2.1m RCBCs or pipes.

Widening of the LN1 drain from Hogans Rd to the Gregory Hwy to increase capacity by 33%.

Remove three sections of the elevated banks of the LN1 along Moffat Rd and allow controlled discharges into the old flow path.

Increased flow under Clermont St with three 750mm pipes to replace the current drainage of one 600mm pipe.

Install three 1200mm x 900mm box culverts under the rail line at Old Sheepyard Place.

Place nine more gauge boards in the upper Nogoa River catchment at nominated properties to enhance flood size data.

Ensure accurate river gauge readings.

Erect flood height markers at the Nogoa River bridge and around town.

SunWater to predict maximum spillway heights at Fairbairn Dam and release the information ahead of time to surrounding landholders.

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