Flood prevention in Brisbane, Australia, is paramount to a sense of security for those living in close proximity to the Brisbane River.
Flooding along the Brisbane River has the potential to be devastating, as documented following previous flood events. The central business district is located 15 kilometres (km) from the mouth of the Brisbane River, where it is in close proximity to an area of known flood risk.
On January 13, 2011, major flooding occurred throughout most of the Brisbane River catchment, most severely in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Creek catchment, where 23 people drowned, as well as in the Bremer River catchment and in Brisbane. Insurers received some 56,200 claims with payouts totalling US$1.93 billion, but devastation resulting from the flood swept far beyond physical losses.
In all, more than 15,000 properties were inundated in metropolitan Brisbane, with approximately 3,600 homes evacuated and more than 200,000 people affected. Commercial losses of approximately $3.02 billion were reported across the mining, agriculture, and tourism sectors. More than 19,000 kilometres of roads were damaged, around 28 percent of the Queensland rail network damaged, and three major ports significantly affected. An estimated 28,000 homes would need to be rebuilt, while vast numbers of dwellings would require extensive repairs.
During the January 2011 flood, some parts of Brisbane were affected by water that came up from the river through the drainage networks and into the city’s streets, a problem referred to as backflow flooding.
Backflow devices are one of many flood mitigation tools and strategies that Brisbane’s city council is considering to help protect the city from the impacts of future flooding.