Funding from the state and federal governments has allowed the Central Highlands Regional Council to invest in improved weather monitoring and innovative emergency notification systems.
The installation of new rainfall stations at Duaringa, Carnarvon and in the Upper Comet areas means additional real-time rainfall data will now be available.
Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes said the project was a great improvement to the region’s rainfall and river height monitoring network, providing effective early warning information to people at risk of flooding.
“This investment will provide the region with four new rainfall stations, two river height and rainfall stations, upgrades to three rainfall stations and two new road camera systems,” he said.
“Filling the gaps in the rainfall and river height monitoring network helps people and visitors in the Central Highlands better understand the flood risk.
“Data captured by the new stations will also improve flood models and inform better disaster management practices and decision making, about floods and drought and other climate drivers.”
A commitment of $177,000 by the Palaszczuk Government will see the installation of an innovative emergency notification system that will increase the region’s resilience to disasters.
The funding will allow for an early-warning emergency siren and a CCTV system to be installed, which will be used to notify people in the Sapphire and Graves Hill areas of an impending flash flood, bushfire or other hazard event.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, said sirens were a proven technology adopted by a number of local governments, and broad coverage of appropriate warnings would strengthen community resilience by enhancing preparedness and response capabilities.
“The Gemfields area is subject to flash flooding and bushfires that can have a widespread and crippling impact on the community,” Mr Dick said.
“During times of flood, the river can rise rapidly, so it’s vitally important there’s a reliable early-warning system in place to alert people of approaching dangers.
“Gem-hunters from all over the world come to this region and camp across public fossicking lands that are vulnerable to floods, so an early-warning siren and sound system will address the unique challenges presented at this popular tourist spot.”
A state-wide review by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and the Bureau of Meteorology identified a capital investment of $519,000 was necessary to improve the network of rainfall and river height stations for populations at risk in the Central Highlands Regional Council area.
In 2017-18, council installed eight new rainfall stations and completed upgrades to five stations deemed unsuitable after telecommunications failed during TC Debbie in 2017.
The new rainfall stations are solar-powered and use radio transmission, meaning they do not fail with interruptions to the telecommunications or electricity networks during flood events.