Flood inquiry gets underway

AS THE flood inquiry kicked off in Goondiwindi this morning, the difficulty of dealing with two flood events in the one region and the flooding of Cunningham Highway will be discussed while examining the Southern Downs inundations.

Senior Sergeant Greg Morrow will appear as the District Disaster Co-ordinator for this area, which also takes in Goondiwindi.

In her opening statement Counsel Assisting Elizabeth Wilson said while Goondiwindi suffered multiple floods in 2010, it was mostly protected by its levee banks.

However, the commission heard how the sheer volume of water moving through the water system in January 2011 set this inundation apart from the others.

Texas experienced the worst flood since 1956 on January 12 and Inglewood was inundated on January 6.

The commission heard how the Southern Downs had towns on two different river catchments and while Warwick first flooded on December 27, Stanthorpe escaped relatively unharmed.

The Stanthorpe sewerage treatment plant was inundated as were water treatment plants around the region, “calling into question the capability of councils to deal with dual events at the same time,” Wilson said.

In her opening statement Wilson said SunWater, which is represented at the commission, operates three dams in the area and unlike Wivenhoe the operation manual of these allowed “no discretion” therefore when water filled the dams, the gates opened and the operator did not make any strategic decisions on opening them.

After a short adjournment the commission returned to start hearing from witnesses.



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