FLOODGATES OPEN: A picture from 2010 of all five spillway gates open at Wivenhoe Dam creating a boiling surge of racing water and a huge cloud of spray.
FLOODGATES OPEN: A picture from 2010 of all five spillway gates open at Wivenhoe Dam creating a boiling surge of racing water and a huge cloud of spray. David Nielsen

LNP decides floodgates will open earlier in future

IPSWICH is set to benefit from new flood mitigation measures to be enacted by the Newman government, but if they had been in place three years ago the city would have been spared a natural disaster.

Cr Paul Tully, who lost his home in the 2011 floods, has welcomed the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dam Optimisation Study's findings which determined that releasing water earlier in future would provide greater protection to downstream communities during a major flood. Those findings will be acted upon.

Cr Tully said the new measures were "good for Ipswich and good for Brisbane", but they also revealed Wivenhoe Dam had been incorrectly managed in 2011.

"It will provide another level of safety for flood-affected areas," Cr Tully said.

"It is belated recognition that if the Wivenhoe Dam had been differently managed in 2011, most of the flooding could have been avoided. They are now releasing water earlier during a wet season and based on predicted weather events.

"It will mean that low-level bridges from Fernvale to Colleges Crossing may be affected earlier and for a longer period. But in doing so they will protect the majority of Ipswich and Brisbane residents."

The early release of water will cause disruption at Colleges Crossing and Cr Tully said it would be ideal if the bridge could be "raised a couple of metres".

"There are other low-level bridges in the Fernvale area, and in 2011 they were more concerned about protecting those bridges and keeping them open rather than releasing water in the week prior to the flood to reduce the dam level," Cr Tully said.

"Had they done that, those bridges would have flooded, but there would have been almost no flooding in Ipswich and Brisbane."

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said lifting Colleges Crossing with "a simple engineering design" was one option, while he council was also looking at constructing an alternate route in the area.

"This is a good opportunity to explore that, because putting a road in is probably the cheapest option," he said.

"This is about making sure Wivenhoe Dam is now used for flood mitigation... and they can start the other strategies of protecting Ipswich from the floodwaters of the Bremer and build some infrastructure at Colleges Crossing and some of the low-lying areas.

"If we can raise it three or four metres water can be released and people aren't blocked off from Karana Downs. When the area gets inundated people have to drive an extra half-an-hour to get to their destinations."



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