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28 February 2011

Mayors considering flood warning sirens as call is made to adopt a 1 to 5 flood alert system

Air-raid early warning sirens south of Wivenhoe Dam are being considered as part of a submission by southeast Queensland mayors to the state's flood inquiry.
 
The region's 10 mayors discussed the idea at a Council of Mayors meeting on Friday.
 
Somerset Regional Mayor Graeme Lehmann, who raised the proposal, said details were still to be worked out but the concept needed to be a priority.
 
"It's something that's very, very important," Cr Lehmann, whose council takes in Wivenhoe Dam, said.
 
"The last thing we want to see is people end up trapped and killed. We've got to work out the best way to get a warning out to people."
 
Scores of residents across southeast Queensland have complained that they received late or no warning of the devastating floods that swept through the region last month.
 
Cr Lehmann said SMS and email warnings failed in his council area because telecommunications went down.
 
"We send SMSes but when telecommunications are down that doesn't work and when somebody's not near their phone they don't hear it," he said.
 
"Maybe it's not only one type of warning, maybe there's going to be warnings a few different ways so that people can't miss it."
 
Cr Lehmann suggested the responsibility for a heightened warning system be with dam manager Seqwater because it had flood monitoring stations along waterways affected by Wivenhoe Dam.
 
He said it was quicker for the water body to distribute the warning direct to residents rather than sending the message along a chain of people to councils.
 
Cr Lehmann said the early warning system was among a raft of ideas discussed at the Council of Mayors meeting and the group would likely soon make a submission to the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.
 
Ipswich councillor Paul Tully, who has already lodged a submission, is calling for an Australia-wide flood warning system similar to the five categories defining tropical cyclones.
 
He says his community of Goodna was left to work out how far the water would rise because official warnings were based on a gauge in Brisbane.
 
"It would be easier for a member of the public to understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity than to decipher Queensland's flood alert system,'' Cr Tully wrote in his submission.
 
 

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