New detention basin will lower city's risk of major flooding
CONSTRUCTION of a detention basin at Limestone Park is expected to be finished by mid-December.
A part of Limestone Park, across the road from Ipswich Central State School, have been cleared to help Ipswich prepare against flooding.
Diggers have been busy ripping up grass at Limestone Park in the past week and pipes and gravel have been laid.
It will protect against flash flooding by storing stormwater runoff for a limited time and then release it slowly through a small outflow at the lowest point.
The new Limestone Park detention basin will cost about $2.1million.
Ipswich City Council is constructing a detention basin and an irrigated cricket field at the park, behind the PCYC off Griffith Rd.
A detention basin is an area that has been designed and designated for the temporary or permanent retention of floodwaters during rain or flood events.
A spokesman for Ipswich City Council said the construction of the Limestone Park flood basin would help protect residents and businesses in the event of a significant flood.
"The Limestone Park detention basin will assist in reducing flood levels downstream of the basin within the Ipswich Central Business District," the council spokesman said.
"It is being formed with an existing sports reserve and is situated within an area that naturally lends itself to the forming of a detention basin."
Parts of the Ipswich Central Business District, including Wharf St, Brisbane St, Limestone St and South St were inundated during the 2011 and 1974 floods.
The detention basin at Limestone Park is under construction.
The council spokesman said construction was expected to be finished in mid-December this year, weather permitting.
Flooding has always been a natural occurrence in the region and this was recorded as early as 1824 by the explorer John Oxley.
While riverine floods usually dominate, flooding also occurs along local creeks, as well as numerous flow paths which exist.
Ipswich receives about half its average yearly rainfall, 900mm, between December and March.
Ipswich City Council has adopted a floodplain management strategy, which aims to manage the expected flooding risks within an area.
Major mitigation projects completed in Ipswich include two regional detention basins protecting the towns of Marburg and Rosewood.
These basins were built in 2003 and reduced the effects of flooding on properties over a number of heavy rainfall events.
Other recent mitigation works included a flood levee to protect the township of Thagoona and upgrades to the Rosewood detention basin, which have provided additional relief from flooding in the township.
Ipswich City Council has also allocated a prize pool of $4200 for its Summer Storm and Flood Safety poster competition.
The competition, run between the council and the Ipswich State Emergency Service, asks school students to make a poster that promotes disaster resilience.
Dry times ahead after wet start
FOLLOWING dry conditions for much of 2018 - including Australia's driest September on record, the Bureau of Meteorology reports some parts of the country have had heavy rains in October.
This includes Ipswich, with the city and surrounding areas recording a rainfall total of 87.2mm for October.
"With 73.2mm normally in the gauges for that time of year, that's 14mm above the average," said Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andrew Bufalino.
That wet October however has been tempered by a dry start to November.
"There's been zero rain in the first few weeks although there's some on the horizon in the coming days," he added.
Worryingly that lack of rain fits in with the Bureau's national forecast from now through to January 2019, with large parts of the country likely to be drier than average.
The outlook indicates that November, in particular, is likely to be drier than average in many areas.
Bureau of Meteorology Senior Climatologist Felicity Gamble said two factors were influencing Australia's current climate - sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean and warming conditions in the tropical Pacific, both of which raised the likeihood of an El Nino event.
The risk of an El Nino brings with it a significant reduction of rainfall during the eastern states' wet season, a later onset of the North Australian Monsoon and a reduction of tropical cyclone activity across northern Australia during the summer (leading to a reduction in rainfall for western Queensland).
"All this means an increased likelihood of higher temperatures and less rainfall," Gamble said.
In the longer term, the risk of an El Nino during summer favours a drier than average outlook for the eastern half of the country towards the end of summer and early autumn.
Although the forecast also suggests fewer cyclones are likely, Gamble warns Australia has always had one cross the coast each season.
"So those who live in affected areas should be prepared."
The first cyclone to be named in Australian waters during the 2018/19 season will be Owen.
Dry conditions means bushfire season will continue
IT'S been a horrendous start to the bushfire season, and authorities believe the harsh and dry conditions that spark blazes will continue well into the new year.
Rural Fire Service area director Paul Storrs said the lack of rain and high temperatures could see his crews still battling blazes right up until February next year.
"Bushfire season typically starts at the end of August and will run through to now, but depending on the area, it could be extended," he said.
"We are well aware that the risk of bushfires are still there, and I expect to continue seeing bushfires in the next few months.
"I think it is much drier than last year. El Nino conditions mean less rain and more fires.
"We are still seeing strong winds and high temperatures, which contribute to bushfires."
Mr Storrs and his crews have been battling fires right across the Ipswich, Somerset and Lockyer regions. While he was uncertain of the exact number of fires his crews had attended, he did say the number of fires across southeast Queensland was very high.
"This season across southeast Queensland, we've done over 1150 fire responses. It's been a very big season," he said.
"We are still seeing and fighting bushfires every day.
"Our volunteers and our staff have been working exceptionally hard. They are all amazing and very dedicated."
While firefighters are out there every day battling tough conditions to protect the lives of people, Mr Storrs said fire prevention and safety has to start at home.
"The key message I would give is it's really important that families are prepared for bushfires," he said.
"Just because a bushfire hasn't happened, doesn't mean it wont.
"That's why bushfire plans are so important. People can give my office a call on 3294 4948 or log onto the Rural Fire Service website. It is there you can download a bushfire survival plan and it will have lots of information which you will need to keep your family safe."
Families can protect their properties from bushfires by clearing leaves, twigs, bark and other debris from the roof and gutters, remove excess ground fuels and combustible material such as long dry grass, trim low-lying branches two metres from the ground surrounding your home, ensuring you have a stocked first aid kit, as well as install fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows, doors, vents and weep holes.
For more information about your bushfire survival plan, log onto ruralfire.qld.gov.au