Callide Valley residents reminded to prepare for wet season09-Dec-2016
With the official start to the wet season and the Bureau of Meteorology predicting several cyclones, Callide Valley residents are reminded to prepare their flood plans.
SunWater Executive General Manager Operations, Mr Colin Bendall, said SunWater is working closely with Banana Shire Council and the Local Disaster Management Group to improve early warning systems and coordinate flood management responsibilities.
However, he stressed the importance of local residents and businesses being aware of their individual flood risk and putting practical plans in place to keep themselves safe.
“Every year we face the challenges Mother Nature throws at us and we expect the 2016/17 wet season to be no different.
“That’s why it is important Callide Valley residents have a plan for how they’ll respond in an extreme rainfall event. The Callide Dam catchment represents only 11 per cent of the overall water catchment area for the valley, which means flooding can come from a number of sources,” said Mr Bendall.
The Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS) and SunWater have commissioned a number of different studies into how – or if – Callide Dam can be operated as a flood mitigation dam, with the aim to finalise a decision by mid-late 2017.
“Until these studies are complete, operating procedures for the dam cannot be safely altered, meaning no change will be made this year,” he said.
“There is a lot involved in understanding the real impacts of floods, the various options for alternate operational arrangements, and in modelling all feasible flooding scenarios. For example, in some cases a pre-release of water from a dam may exacerbate a flood.”
As part of a broader engagement program, SunWater and DEWS have established a Community Reference Group (CRG) to reflect a cross-section of the community and its diverse views in relation to the dam.
“We want to ensure a sustainable water future for this community, so it’s important that any decision made by SunWater or DEWS on future operational requirements of Callide Dam considers all views from within the valley,” said Mr Bendall.
The extreme Cyclone Marcia weather event in 2015 prompted an Inspector-General Emergency Management Review which has resulted in SunWater implementing numerous recommendations.
“We understand community members have concerns in relation to flooding and we’ve taken a number of steps to address these. SunWater have enhanced monitoring, modelling and forecasting of severe weather events, introduced early warnings for downstream residents, and improved coordination between disaster management groups and agencies - providing greater support to downstream communities.”
Callide Dam was designed to store water for the power station, irrigation and town supplies. Once it is full, all inflows of water pass through the spillway gates. In significant rainfall events, the dam will not prevent flooding.
Currently, Callide Dam is at 72 per cent capacity. If no rain is received in the catchment over the next month this level is predicted to drop by approximately one per cent every week.
Callide Valley community members can share their views on future dam operations with SunWater and the CRG by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Residents are also encouraged to download the SunWater App, which provides operational and early warning updates for all SunWater dams across regional Queensland. For more information visit: www.sunwater.com.au/community/sunwater-app
SunWater Media Team
Phone: +61 7 3120 0047