One of the 38 new river gauging systems the CHRC has installed since the 2008 floods.
One of the 38 new river gauging systems the CHRC has installed since the 2008 floods.

New gauge to fill warning gap

PLANS are under way to install an important new gauging station along Van Dyke Creek that will give Emerald residents upstream an extra day of warning before future flood events.

Currently there is a large unmetered gap between Raymond and Craigmore stations before the Nogoa River flows into the Fairbairn Dam, with about 40kms of free-flowing water between the gauges.

“A further gauging station down the bottom end of the Van Dyke will give everybody a better understanding of what’s heading towards the Nogoa and the dam and also what’s coming down Van Dyke itself,” CHRC manager for corporate governance Bill Wilkinson said.

“Raymond is upstream of where Van Dyke comes in, and Craigmore is the last gauge which is in a very good position and very accurate.

“That gives everyone the final readings on what is coming into the dam.

“If we put one in at Van Dyke it should improve the ability of forecasters and might give us an extra day’s understanding of what is coming into the dam.

“A gauge on Van Dyke will enable the community and disaster management groups to more quickly assess volumes before they get to Craigmore.”

Along with the new Van Dyke gauge, CHRC will be installing an two extra river gauges and a rainfall gauge in the Rolleston township and upstream as a result of a successful funding submission approved late last year.

Since the 2008 floods, CHRC has installed 38 stations containing rain and river-level gauges, with funding secured from the Natural Disaster Management Program.

Mr Wilkinson said the new additions complemented the state-of-the-art weather radar installed post 2008.

“Some people would say we should have gauges on every section of every creek, but it is impracticable to have that density of network. But we are constantly looking at ways to improve the rain and flood warning system for the community across the entire shire,” he said.

CHRC Mayor Peter Maguire said in the wake of recent flooding a need for further gauging systems along the Comet River was clearly identified.

Lex Iker owns three properties along Van Dyke Creek and welcomed the addition to the gauging network.

“Recent floods definitely accentuated the need for it, and it’s often hard for us to get through to people downstream to let them know that there is a lot of water coming,” he said.

“Van Dyke is certainly one of the quicker running creeks in the Fairbairn catchment.”

Mr Iker said he lost 16 dams, 50kms of fencing and 60kms of roads, with the majority of damage being caused by Van Dyke Creek.

Installation of the gauges will get underway during the upcoming winter.

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