Case study

Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry

ProjectQueensland Flood Commission of Inquiry
ClientInsurance Council of Australia and Seqwater
LocationBrisbane, Australia
Disciplines/ServicePeer Review and Expert Evidence
WRM ContactDr Sharmil Markar
Greg Roads

The Challenge

The Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry (QFCoI) was set up in the wake of the devastating floods that occurred across Queensland in the Summer of 2010/2011. WRM provided expert advice to the Commission on the appropriate methods of design flood estimation for the Brisbane River catchment as well as the performance and operation of the two flood mitigating dams (Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams) in the Brisbane River.

Approach and Key Activities

The report prepared by Seqwater detailing how they operated Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams during the January 2011 flood was critically reviewed. The activities undertaken by Seqwater throughout the event were compared against the Manual of Operational Procedures for Flood Mitigation at Wivenhoe Dam and Somerset Dam to determine whether they complied with the manual. The independent review was presented to the QFCoI. Expert advice was also provided to the commission on the adequacy of the manual and what changes should occur both in the short term and long term.

Dr Sharmil Markar of WRM was also engaged to undertake a critical review of the work undertaken during the commission to estimate design discharges and the annual recurrence interval of the January 2011 flood along the Brisbane and Ipswich rivers. He then formed part of an eight person panel of experts to determine an appropriate methodology to undertake a comprehensive flood study of the Brisbane River catchment.


The QFCoI report contained 177 recommendations covering a broad range of issues on flood emergency management, flood planning and dam management, which if implemented will improve the preparation and planning of future floods and natural disaster emergency response in Queensland. WRM played a small but important role in this high profile inquiry. In fact, the methodology proposed to undertake the Brisbane River catchment flood study are broadly in line the recommendations of eight person panel of experts.