Pioneering Proactive Flood Response and Emergency Management
In recent years, severe flooding in Queensland’s regional town of Charleville has caused significant damage to residential and commercial properties, been detrimental to local businesses, and seen flood insurance premiums skyrocket for all of the towns surrounding the Warrego River Catchment. Historically, the area’s flood emergency roles and responsibilities were fragmented; undertaken by separate entities working autonomously from one another. CDM Smith’s solution was to offer a holistic and proactive approach to managing the flood or emergency event while maximising the benefits of existing flood mitigation infrastructure.
CDM Smith’s collaborative team of Australian and US-based engineers worked with the Murweh Shire Council to design and implement a unique Emergency Management System (EMS) that was the first of its kind to be used in Queensland. Our project goal was to assist the Murweh Shire Council Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) in developing proactive flood response planning tools that leverage the information available through local, state, and federal government resources (e.g., the Australian Bureau of Meteorology).
By undertaking extensive catchment mapping and hydrologic modelling of the Warrego River catchment, our team was able to apply this knowledge to an interactive framework using real-time rainfall and river gauging to generate a forecast of where and when flooding will occur as the storm is developing. The EMS’s user friendly tools produce a dynamic link that reads anticipated flood conditions, reports upon required hazard mitigation actions and advises their order of execution. The EMS can be applied for real-time planning and emergency management, enabling emergency personnel to quickly assess the threat to critical infrastructure, such as the anticipated flood height, time until closure and duration of closure. The EMS can also identify potential capital improvements such as road raising, culvert and bridge sizing, diversion components and sizing, levee heights and flood storage. Combining this insight with revised policies and procedures, CDM Smith’s EMS enhances the ability of the LDMG to protect life and property during flood emergencies.
We designed and implemented a unique Emergency Management System - the first of its kind to be used in Queensland
Since implementing the EMS, residents and government within the 59,000km2 Warrego River catchment are now better equipped with early warning systems and the LDMG with improved guidance for flood response preparedness. Due to the success of the flood mitigation infrastructure and the implementation of the EMS, the community of Charleville has seen a significant decrease in flood insurance premiums and a coveted increase in community resilience and flood response time.