Dam management rethink needed to stop the floods

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams wants changes to the Leslie Harrison Dam management plan to prevent wet season flooding of Capalaba sporting facilities.

Councillor Williams fears for the future of the Capalaba Greyhound Club if the discharge policy for the dam does not change.

“The club has been flooded seven times in the past three years and now cannot get flood insurance,” she said.

”This club is a Redlands sporting icon. It is steeped in history but is battling for survival. Going under on a regular basis doesn’t help and I fear that unless things change the club is doomed.

“During wet weather we have flooding not only of this club but of adjoining sports fields and clubhouses. It is no coincidence that this flooding occurs after releases from the dam.

“We believe a proactive approach to dam management can overcome the problem but are having trouble convincing Seqwater.

“The catastrophic SEQ floods of 2011 were a wake-up call for us all and I would hope that strong partnerships, and sensible water storage management policies, are a result.”

Councillor Williams has enlisted the support of Capalaba MP Steve Davies, asking the MP to lobby Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle for change.

“When Council ran the dam we adopted, a ‘trickle’ release policy once the level reached around 90 per cent. There was no flooding under this policy,” she said.

“But Seqwater has a policy of no releases unless the dam is at 100 per cent. Rather than being proactive, they are being reactive – and unnecessarily risking our sports clubs and fields being flooded.”

Councillor Williams said Leslie Harrison was different to other major water supply dams in South East Queensland.

“Leslie Harrison is full at 100 per cent. Wivenhoe and Somerset can go well beyond. In fact, when Wivenhoe was released during the 2010-11 floods it was at 171 per cent,” she said.

“It is not a one size fits all!

“Council believes it prudent that Seqwater reduces the dam level from its present 90-plus per cent. As it is a shallow dam, it fills easily, and can quickly rise to capacity with heavy rainfall, necessitating a release of water.

“There is at least a perception that silting of Tingalpa Creek contributes to flooding and
the government currently does not dredge the creek.

“We are also concerned that Seqwater may be taking a higher percentage of bulk water
from North Stradbroke Island, because of the cost advantage of doing so in comparison
with Leslie Harrison Dam. We believe the appropriate percentage would be 60 per cent
from NSI and 40 per cent from the dam.

“If this was Seqwater policy, the dam levels would be reduced through use rather than
wasteful discharge.”