Climate change plan ignores growth
TWO key Queensland water utilities would invest $2.3 billion over the next decade to address increasing concerns about climate change impacts.
Serious questions however have been raised about the State Government's mandated southeast Queensland growth corridors, which the Local Government Association said its member councils had no choice but to follow.
In the wake of the release by the Climate Council of its latest report "Deluge and Drought: Australia's Water Security in a Changing Climate" the Queensland Government has revealed that Seqwater has committed $1 billion and Sunwater $1.3 billion for improvements to dams.
Report co-author Professor Will Steffens raised concerns about the design capacity of dams and spillways to withstand the increased intensity of future rainfall events.
He also highlighted the continuing increase in population densities in coastal zones where the risks have been known for a long time.
Those concerns come as fire fighters in California who were battling with another climate change threat, to contain out of control wild fires that have destroyed entire towns, forced evacuation of more than 100,000 people and left unaccounted number dead.
"We're in a new abnormal. Things like this will be part of our future," Gov. Jerry Brown (D) told the Washington Post.
"Things like this and worse. The chickens are coming home to roost. This is real here."
He repeatedly cited climate change as a factor and said those who denied it were complicit in the disasters.
A Queensland Government spokesperson said it had, through the Water Supply Act and Acceptable Flood Capacity Guidelines a legislated long-term program to upgrade and ensure the safety of dams which were designed to be resilient to "very rare" to "extreme" rainfall events - events that were significantly rarer (and larger) than 'one in 100-year' events.
The government was supporting an upcoming national study into predicting effects of climate change upon very rare rainfall and flooding.
The spokesperson said the SEQ Urban Footprint did not imply that all land within it could be developed for urban purposes.
"Land within the Urban Footprint may be unsuitable for development for other reasons, including potential flooding and coastal considerations (e.g. storm tide and sea level rise)," he said.
"The location of land uses and activities within the Urban Footprint are determined by SEQ local governments through their own planning schemes."
That position was disputed by LGAQ head Greg Hallam who said the location and intensity of development was "absolutely determined by the state".
"Councils are duty bound to follow," he said. "There's no question of the intention. That is the plan.
"There are well-known figures for the number of new homes and people to be accommodated in the growth corridors."