The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry today scrutinised the management of South East Queensland’s dams in the lead up to the January disaster.

Farmers downstream of the Wivenhoe Dam catchment say more should have been done by authorities to save their properties and are calling on the commission to make certain more is done in the future so it doesn’t happen again.

Natalie Sprott reports.


When the Wivenhoe Dam gates were finally opened at the peak of January’s flood disaster, the waters spilled into the Brisbane River, releasing the largest inflows ever recorded.

The dam gushed with enough water to fill 6,000 swimming pools a second.

But it still wasn’t enough to prevent the devastating floods downstream.

Farmers that caught the brunt of the rapid floodwaters are angry at the government’s lack of assistance four months on.

When Ken Schmidt addressed the flood inquiry today, he said not enough is being done.

Ken Schmidt, Farmer: “They don’t seem to take into consideration the effect that it has on the areas immediately downstream and that’s us.”

Mr Schmidt says the damage is irreversible to his small farm.

He’s currently operating at one third productivity and needs government assistance to get back on his feet.

Ken Schmidt, Farmer: “We have no idea who’s going to fix it. At the moment it’s our responsibility, we had nothing to do with how it was caused. Until the government can make up their mind on how their going to fix it, we’re left in the dark.”

SEQ Water submitted a report looking at the release.

In response to the findings, engineer hydrologist Dr Rory Nathan told the flood inquiry it’s uncertain whether dam releases produced the bulk of the flood peak.

His report says the volume of this year’s event was almost double that of the 1974 floods saying the freak rainfall over the Wivenhoe catchment had a huge role to play.

Today, the inquiry wrapped up in Brisbane.

It’ll move to Ipswich tomorrow where the commission will hear from local residents, the council and police.

Natalie Sprott, QUT News.