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Flood levees not a viable option

20 July 2016

At its Ordinary Meeting today Western Downs Regional Council voted to discontinue investigating the feasibility of levee banks as flood mitigation for the towns of Dalby and Chinchilla.

  • The decision not to proceed with flood levee proposals is due to significant construction costs and the adverse impacts to surrounding properties and rural land;
  • Council investigations reveal that a levee in Dalby and Chinchilla would not adequately lessen all flood impacts;
  • Preliminary flood levee modelling indicates that redirected flood waters could have significant adverse flow-on impacts, which in turn exposes Council to the risk of litigation;
  • Estimated high construction costs, the lack of external funding and questionable performance result in a low cost-benefit ratio for the community.
  • While no further action will be taken on levee bank mitigation, investigations will continue into other more viable flood mitigation options for the Western Downs.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said that Council has been investigating the feasibility of levee banks, in conjunction with a range of flood mitigation alternatives, in response to feedback from the community.

“The aim of Council’s flood mitigation work has been to seek options that demonstrate a high cost-benefit, avoid adverse environmental impacts, and improve the flood resilience and preparedness of our region,” he said.

“There was never any certainty that levees were the right option, therefore it was important that Council go through the necessary investigations to come to an informed decision, one that is both socially and financially responsible.

“The process employed the rigor of scientific assessments and sophisticated flood modelling to investigate flood impacts with and without a levee. This data has been critical in demonstrating that levees would not adequately lessen all flood impacts, and also created significant adverse flow-on impacts.”

While the case for levee banks does not stack up as a cost effective and viable flood mitigation option for Dalby and Chinchilla, Mayor McVeigh assures residents that flood mitigation planning for the region would continue.

“Council will continue to investigate other viable flood mitigation options and improve our emergency preparedness with projects like our regional network of 34 flood warning alert stations which help our communities be better prepared to respond to flood events,” he said.

— Ends —