Birds-eye view of flood in Queensland, Australia.

AQUARIUS WebPortal – A Flash Flooding Emergency Management Success Story

When facing imminent flood dangers, time is of the essence. However, getting the right information to the right people in real-time can be challenging.

No one knows this more than the City of Brisbane. Located on the east coast of Australia, Brisbane is a world-class city, enjoyed for its subtropical climate. However, that same climate contributes to various forms of flooding, including from storm surge, large tides, creeks, and the Brisbane River.

Compared to flood events from the Brisbane River (see the historic events of 1974 and 2011), creek flash flooding is far more frequent. There are some 35 creek catchments within the Brisbane City Council (BCC) area. During flooding events, these creek catchments have times of concentration ranging from 1 hour to 18 hours, and flooding often occurs simultaneously, with flooding of some magnitude occurring in more than 3 or 4 catchments at the same time. With minimal warning, creek flash flooding can be far more costly and dangerous to residents.

This was proven in March 2001. Heavy rainfall caused flash flooding from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, with reports of 200 to 300 mm in a 2 to 3 hour period. Houses were flooded, powerlines were brought down, roads were closed, and the city went into total chaos.

In the aftermath, the BCC decided they needed a system that delivered real-time access to rainfall and water level data. Over the next several years, they developed more advanced flood triggers, alerting, and reporting. AQUARIUS WebPortal was customised and became the new BCC FloodWise system – a success story resulting from the collaborative relationship between the BCC and Aquatic Informatics’ project teams.

The FloodWise tool dramatically improved the way BCC could respond to flash flooding.

The system monitors real-time telemetry gauges across Brisbane and provides the current readings on a web portal. Colour-coded maps allow staff to quickly zone in on critical events and drill-down to related charts and tables. Powerful alerting capabilities – via SMS or email – enable officers to take timely action to protect residents. These actions include road closures, debris clean up, structure assessments, and information collection and reporting. Alerts can also be supplied to a third-party service provider for distribution to residents allowing them to take their own precautionary measures.

High-level users also have access to a Situation Report (SITREP) function, which allows them to access reports via email or SMS. This report instantly provides a snapshot of the current event and statistical highlights, including highest recorded rainfall, 6 hour average rainfall, streams currently flooding, and current flooded roads and areas.

Join Chris Heyer as the new AQUARIUS WebPortal is unveiled and get an inside look into the BCC flood management system.

Learn how real-time flood data helps Brisbane officials protect their city, and discover 7 ways you can share water information, anywhere, anytime.

Webinar: AQUARIUS WebPortal – How to make Data Sharing Easy

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