FLOOD PLANS: Locals look at the options available at the North Bundaberg Progress Hall.
FLOOD PLANS: Locals look at the options available at the North Bundaberg Progress Hall. Paul Donaldson

Diverting the Burnett River to Elliott Heads?

MAJOR flooding of the Burnett River may be a thing of the past if any one of eleven options - collectively worth more than $11 billion - are adopted by the State Government.

Yesterday the government released plans to reduce flooding that include redirecting the Burnett River, buying up homes, installing levees and building dams.

The 10-year plan for major flood mitigation is in its second stage, with residents now being asked for input during a three-day community consultation process.

Read about the options below and then vote in our poll

Which Bundaberg flood mitigation option do you support?

This poll ended on 28 October 2016.

Current Results

A: $235 million Burnett River water flow improvement

18%

B: $124 million North floodway

0%

C: $100 million North levee and floodway

0%

D:$38 million Bundaberg East levee

14%

E: $3.4 million Removal of Fairymead levee

11%

F: $95 million Millaquin bend

0%

G: $9000 million Diverting flood to Elliott River

22%

H: $42 million Improving access to Tallon Bridge

3%

I: $1300 million Dams in upper catchment

0%

J: $39 million Scheme to buy houses over North

7%

K: $15-18 million Upper floodplain evacuation improvements

3%

None of the above

18%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


Building on the work done by Bundaberg Regional Council, the plan aims to harness the collective knowledge of the community, experts and government to prioritise cost-effective flood mitigation solutions for Bundaberg's people, homes, businesses and economy.

The first consultation session was held on Tuesday at Bundaberg North Progress Hall.

Division 4 Councillor Helen Blackburn was on the floor answering questions and said the consultation process was important in gaining knowledge from locals who had experienced previous floods.

"It is integral to the whole decision making process of the community," she said.

"It isn't about the local or state governments making the decisions, the residents have to understand how those decisions are made and what the impacts will be.

"There are a number of residents who were involved in rescuing, clean ups and particularly those who were here when the floods came through. They understand where the water came from, how high and how fast it was."

"Those sorts of things which local and state government won't understand because we weren't necessarily here on the ground when it was happening."

The Bundaberg flood protection study is due to be completed late this year.

The next community consultation is on Saturday, October 29 at the Bundaberg Civic Centre from 9am-noon.

Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/jkg3mwb.

Below are the 11 options

Click on the slider and move left to right so the difference.
 

Option A: Burnett River conveyance improvement

This option involves river dredging along the town reach, removing Harriet Island, widening Millaquin Bend and regular maintenance dredging.

WHAT: This option would result in more flow in the river and less flow on the floodplain. This would reduce flood levels in some urban areas.

The increased flood flow in the river would result in some increased flood levels in Bundaberg North (up to 0.3m) for smaller, more frequent flood events.

Approximately 470 properties in the Bundaberg area would not be inundated in the 1% AEP 1 flood event.

The option would require the treatment of dredged material and land-based disposal of dredge spoil due to the very low likelihood of at-sea disposal.

COST: $235 million, moderate to high cost option.

BENEFITS: The estimated reduction in flood damages would be in the order of $35 million.

ISSUES: It is expected that there would be difficulties in obtaining an environmental approval for such a large dredging program.

 

Option B: North floodway

This option involves construction of four lakes either side of Hinkler Avenue to improve conveyance through Bundaberg North and a channel from Queen St to Waterview Rd.

WHAT: This option would involve diverting floodwater through Hinkler and Federation Parks, reducing flood levels in the Burnett River and Bundaberg North.

Downstream of the lakes and floodway, some properties would experience increased flood levels.

COST: $124 million

BENEFITS: The estimated reduction in flood damages would be in the order of $7 million.

Benefits of this option are limited due to the ability to lower flood levels in this area. The flow rate through this area would not change and the flood levels in the urban area are not significantly lowered.

ISSUES: This option would have high costs due to the large volume of excavation and the need to treat and dispose of this material.

 

Option C: North levee and floodway

This option involves constructing a levee around most of Bundaberg North. Lakes and widening of the rail bridge at Hanbury St would also be required to improve conveyance through Bundaberg North.

 

 

WHAT: This option would direct floodwaters around Bundaberg North through the construction of a levee and floodway (lake) system.

This option would provide protection for about 450 properties up to the 1.5% AEP 1 flood event.

For events rarer/larger than the 1.5% AEP flood event, initial overtopping of the levee would occur along the northern (earth) sections, rather than a sudden overtopping, allowing safer evacuation.

COST: $100 million

BENEFITS: Estimated reduction in flood damages would be in the order of about $11 million.

ISSUES: There is a risk that people inside the levee may become complacent about flood risk.

The levee would have a major impact on the urban area, restricting access and creating a visual barrier.

Increased flood levels of up to 0.6m would be experienced by some properties outside of the levee.

 

Option D: Bundaberg East levee

This option includes construction of a levee along the south bank of the river to reduce flooding in Bundaberg East. It would require construction of two floodgates (with one large floodgate for Saltwater Creek).

 

WHAT: This option would prevent floodwaters from the Burnett River backing up into Bundaberg South for events up to the 1.5% AEP1 flood event.

This option would provide protection for about 440 properties up to the 1.5% AEP (70 year ARI) flood event.

It would reduce flooding for about 320 properties in the 1% AEP 2 flood event.

A flood-gate structure would be required across Saltwater Creek to prevent Burnett River back-up flooding but allow local floods to pass.

COST: $38 million

BENEFITS: Estimated reduction in flood damages of this option is around $29 million.

ISSUES: Localised rainfall that causes flooding in Saltwater Creek may inundate properties to a greater amount if the event occurs concurrently with a Burnett River flood and the flood gate is shut.

 

Option E: Removal of Fairymead levee

This option involves removal of existing levees at Fairymead on the floodplain downstream of Bundaberg.

 

WHAT: The option increases flow over the floodplain to the north and west, increasing flood levels in this area.

Several buildings would experience an increase in flood level of 300 mm in a 1% AEP 1 event.

Due to the distance between the Fairymead levee and the Bundaberg urban area, the removal of this levee would reduce flood levels by a very small amount in Bundaberg.

Reduced flood levels would be experienced upstream of the levees and on the eastern floodplain. In a 1% AEP event the benefit is limited to a distance of

about 3 km upstream of the levee.

COST: $3.4 million

BENEFIT: The estimated reduction in flood damages would be in the order of $0.1 million.

ISSUES: The assessment of Option E found that this option is likely to have significant impacts on areas outside of the benefited area.

 

Option F: Millaquin bend

This option involves deepening, widening and regular maintenance dredging of a section of the left bank of the Burnett River by excavation and dredging to improve flood conveyance through a constricted part of the river.

WHAT: This option reduces flood levels within Bundaberg through increased conveyance in the Burnett River.

Approximately 440 properties would not be inundated in the 1% AEP1 flood event.

Much of the benefit from this option occurs within Bundaberg East, meaning that the majority of benefits of this option would be lost if it was built in conjunction with another option that reduces damages in East Bundaberg (e.g. a levee).

COST: $95 million

BENEFIT: The preliminary flood damages assessment for this option suggests that the estimated reduction in flood damages would be in the order of $30 million.

ISSUES: Dredging and mangrove removal works may negatively impact the local environment, and there is no opportunity for staging.

 

Option G: Diverting flood to Elliott River

This option involves construction of a diversion channel from the Burnett River into the Elliott River.

 

 

WHAT: This option would reduce flow in the Burnett River and increase flow in the Elliott River. This would reduce flood levels in Bundaberg.

This option would reduce flooding for about 3000 properties in the 1% AEP 1 flood event and prevent over-floor flooding in 1450 properties in the 1% AEP flood event.

COST:$9,000 million

BENEFIT: The estimated reduction in flood damages for this option is around $90 million.

ISSUES: This option would have significant costs. These costs would be approximately 100 times the benefits realised through reduced damages.

Increased flood flow in the Elliott River would result in increased flood levels (up to 8m higher) and very high velocities for properties along this river. This would impact about 60 houses along the Elliott River.

Environmental issues would arise from diverting very large flows into the Elliott River, which has a small catchment and small flows compared to the Burnett River (100 times smaller).

 

Option H: Improving access to Tallon Bridge

This option involves improving emergency access to Tallon Bridge by creating an extension to the bridge from Gavin St through to the roundabout near Bundaberg North State School.

WHAT: This option would enable 1400 properties in Bundaberg North to have emergency access to Bundaberg South during a 1% AEP flood event.

It would assist in reducing impacts on people as isolation is reduced and access to emergency services is increased.

It would also decrease stress due to reduced isolation and improved access to emergency services during flood events.

COST: $42 million.

BENEFIT: Although there is no reduction in flood damages, approximately 1400 properties would no longer be isolated in a 1% AEP 1 flood event. In addition, the available evacuation times for Bundaberg North would increase by about four hours.

ISSUES: This option has limited benefits in very large events (e.g. larger than 2013).

This option would have limited benefit for those properties to the east of Hinkler Drive or south of Hinkler Park.

Afflux from the viaduct has not been assessed and would need to be considered in future design development.

 

Option I: Dams in upper catchment

This option involves construction of dam(s) in the upper Burnett River catchment to temporarily store floodwaters. No specific sites have been chosen.

 

WHAT: This option would temporarily detain floodwater from the Burnett River and could reduce flood levels from the 1% AEP 1 flood event to the 5% AEP flood event level.

This would reduce flooding for about 3000 properties in the 1% AEP flood event and prevent over-floor flooding in 1450 properties in the 1% AEP flood event.

COST: $1300 million

BENEFIT: The estimated reduction in flood damages for this option is around $90 million.

ISSUES: Environmental approval of this option would be unlikely due to the enviromental impacts in the impounded area.

The temporary impounding of floodwaters would require the acquisition of large areas of agricultural and forested land.

The costs would be very high ($1300 million) and more than 14 times the benefits realised through reduced damages.

 

Option J: Scheme to buy houses over North

This option would involve either purchase or relocation (via land-swap) of select residential blocks in Bundaberg North that are deemed to be in a floodway with high depths and velocities.

 

WHAT: This option would remove 130 properties from the floodplain.

The purchase of houses would have a result in social changes and social impacts in this area.

In rare floods (i.e. larger than 2013 flood), the flooding conditions in this area become extremely hazardous and would likely result in destruction of many houses.

The costs of the option are more than eight times the benefits to be realised through reduced flood damages. However, there are other non-tangible benefits associated with reducing the risk to life during floods, especially rare floods.

COST: $39 million

BENEFIT: The preliminary flood damages assessment for this option suggests that the estimated reduction in flood damages would be in the order of $5 million.

 

Option K: Upper floodplain evacuation improvements

This option involves provision of better evacuation routes and access during floods to the communities of Goodnight, Morganville, Pine Creek, Givelda and Electra through raising of the Perry River Bridge and construction and upgrading of 4WD tracks.

WHAT: This option would reduce isolation time for communities in the Goodnight Scrub, Givelda, Pine Creek localities during large flood events. Approximately 400 to 600 properties would have improved access during flood periods requiring less reliance upon emergency supplies.

Construction of this option would be in the order of $16 million for the Perry River Bridge and $1 million for construction of the 4WD evacuation routes.

This option has minimal impacts on others and would have a high likelihood of obtaining environmental approval.

COST: Perry River bridge: about $15 to $17 million

Pine Creek evacuation route: about $0.5 to $1 million

BENEFIT: This option would not reduce flood inundation of any houses. However, it would significantly reduce the duration of isolation for a large rural community.

Based on the history of flood levels in the Burnett River, it is estimated that the Perry River bridge is cut for approximately 14 days per decade. The proposed bridge upgrade would reduce the time that the bridge is cut to one day per decade.

Based on the loss of income, this reduction in isolation would result in an estimated benefit of $0.7 million. However, the intangible benefits of reduced isolation and the decreased costs of emergency management during flood events would result in greater economic benefits for this option.