An $8 million project to upgrade North Queensland’s flood warning network is now complete, with 180 new flood warning assets installed across 28 council areas in the Far North, North and North West of the state.
Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Senator Murray Watt said the Flood Warning Infrastructure Network (FWIN) project, made possible through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), will help keep communities safe with timely flood warnings and forecasts.
“A third La Niña season means an increased risk of cyclones and flooding across Northern Queensland,” Minister Watt said.
“These rain gauges, rain towers, flood warning signs and high-tech cameras at strategic locations support more timely flood warning intelligence. Data from rain and river gauges will be incorporated into the Bureau of Meteorology’s network and will improve forecasts and warnings for primary producers and communities.
“The new assets will increase the resilience of communities vulnerable to flooding, to support the recovery following the 2019 North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough.”
The project is part of the $242 million DRFA package activated to support people in Queensland’s north.
Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), Steven Miles said extensive consultation was undertaken within all affected local government areas.
“QRA worked closely with councils, regional organisations of councils, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Rail, Sunwater and state agencies, to support the delivery of timely and accurate flood warnings for Queenslanders,” Mr Miles said.
“The work undertaken for these assets was extensive, including site assessments, surveys, approvals including cultural heritage checks and signoff from each council.
“We’re committed to ensuring people in flood-prone communities have appropriate warning of flood events and this includes investment in new and upgraded flood warning infrastructure.
“There are more than 3,200 rainfall and river gauges across the state informing state-wide flood warnings and forecasts.”
The FWIN project has also seen the addition of 59 cameras which along with the new rain gauges and towers are now operational and benefitting communities in the Far North, North West and North Queensland, said Mr Miles.
Far North Queensland received 45 new flood warnings assets benefiting 10 LGAs: Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Cook, Douglas, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Mareeba, Pormpuraaw, Torres Strait Island and Wujul Wujul.
North West Queensland received 74 flood warning assets, comprising 67 new assets and 7 asset upgrades, benefiting 12 LGAs: Boulia, Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Croydon, Diamantina, Etheridge, Flinders, Longreach, McKinlay, Richmond and Winton.
North Queensland received 61 new flood warning assets benefiting six LGAs: Burdekin, Charters Towers, Mackay, Hinchinbrook, Townsville and Whitsunday.
The new rainfall and river height gauge infrastructure conforms to the National Flood Warning Infrastructure Standard and aligns with the Queensland Strategic Flood Warning Infrastructure Plan.