Understanding the world-wide risk of flooding

Flooding is one of the most prevalent forms of natural hazard world-wide.  With most major cities  developed along the coastline or waterways, flood risk threatens more people than any other natural catastrophe.  With the advancement of catchment-scale flood modelling systems to a national-scale, and now global-scale, these risks are able to be analysed and projected into the future.  Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute estimate that by 2025, the number of people living within 60 miles of a coast will rise by 35% compared to 1995 levels. Combining an analysis of global population data and JBA’s global flood mapping data, it is estimated that two billion people worldwide will be at risk of inland flooding by the year 2020. 

The international response

An ever increasing international response is being undertaken to understand and adapt to this growing flood risk.  In January the World Bank Group launched its Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.  This funding will be rolled out at an average of $10bn for five years – with $50bn pledged between 2021-2025.  In addition to new river basin and flood management plans, the new adaptation strategies will include a move into flood warning systems – in particular the investment in higher quality forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services to better prepare 250 million people for extreme weather.

How does QLD compare

In line with the international community, the QLD government is delivering its own climate change adaptation planning through the QCoast2100 programme.  This programme is being over three years with an annual budget of $4m/yr.  This funding is being used for the development of new coastal risk mapping, and the preparation of plans and strategies to address climate change related coastal hazard risks over the long-term.

Upcoming book launch

A River with a City Problem: A History of Brisbane Floods

A River with a City Problem: A History of Brisbane Floods

Release Date: 3/09/2019
Pages: 248
ISBN: 978 0 7022 6043 8

Author: Margaret Cook

AUD $ 32.94

When floods devastated South East Queensland in 2011, who was to blame? Despite the inherent risk of living on a floodplain, most residents had pinned their hopes on Wivenhoe Dam to protect them, and when it failed to do so, dam operators were blamed for the scale of the catastrophic events that followed.

A River with a City Problem is a compelling history of floods in the Brisbane River catchment, especially those in 1893,1974 and 2011. Extensively researched, it highlights the force of nature, the vagaries of politics and the power of community. With many river cities facing urban development challenges, Cook makes a convincing argument for what must change to prevent further tragedy.


Visualisation of Statistics

A great website resource for the display of statistical concepts is available at:





Explaining the concepts in Australian Rainfall and Runoff to a varied audience requires more sophisticated and nuanced approach than was available in the past. Tony Ladson presented a great paper on this and it is available at his blog site:

Ladson, A. R. (2018) Visualising hydrology data.  Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium. 3-6 Dec. Melbourne, Engineers Australia (Companion website) (abstract at informit).

Please send in your examples or links to sites that you have found useful.

Austroads Part 8 & TMR Bridge Scour Manual Update – QWP Technical Session

Wednesday 29th May 2019 1730-1900, Engineering House, Brisbane
Event is FREE to attend for EA Members and $30 for Non-Members

Austroads has released its Guide to Bridge Technology Part 8: Hydraulic Design of Waterway Structures, Chapter 5: Bridge Scour. To ensure concurrency TMR has updated their 2014 Bridge Scour Manual to reflect the policy of the Department of Transport and Main Roads with respect to the planning, design, operation and maintenance of scour in bridges.

The second edition of the Bridge Scour Manual, sets out a multi-disciplinary approach to the estimation of the depth and extent of scour required for design of waterway bridges. It is a guide to those involved in the planning, design, operation and maintenance of bridges spanning waterways.

This event will discuss the manual update from a hydraulic, geotechnical and structural point of view.  

About the speakers:

Dr. Carlos Gonzalez
Carlos experience includes hydrodynamic modelling (1D/2D), hydraulic design of dams and spillways, scour studies, erosion protection design (Bridges, Culverts and Channels) and physical modelling.

Dr. Kamalnath Dissanayake
Kamal has involvement in a variety of large scale projects, which include design of deep foundations for offshore channel markers, waterfront structures and bridges. Being a member of TMR team he reviews detailed road and bridge designs works by others regularly. 

Jayaratna (Muna) Mahagamage
Muna is currently working as a Principal Engineer at Structures Design, Review and Standards section of Department of Transport and Main Roads. His current role comprises of Peer review of structural design projects and development and maintenance of Departmental standards for Design and construction of bridges and other structures. 

For further event information and registration use this link: