12 thoughts on “Is there a plan to get housing out of flood zones”

  1. Look ‘ere, the political landscape in Australia has no time for common sense.
    Our once proud country now outlaws common sense.
    We have a far, far left and Islamic terrorists to pander to.
    And we are to be the world’s leaders in dark and cold nights in the not too distant future

  2. Brisbane City Council has compiled maps of the extent of the 1974 and 2011 floods – see floodinformation.brisbane.qld.gov.au/fio/

    It would be quite a job to move all the people in those areas now, but of course they should never have been built on in the first place. The 1893 flood was far worse than 1974 or 2011, and the 1841 flood worse again. Curiously the Council does not include the flood extents then, although there is a detailed map for 1893 on Quickipedia, which also has a photo of people rowing down Elizabeth St: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1893_Brisbane_flood

    Dams built since could I imagine reduce flood extent considerably, but from what I understand the Wivenhoe dam was allowed to fill up in 2011 largely because global warming alarmism included the theme that rainfall was in long-term decline, and water had in fact been short for years because of greenie opposition to new dams.

  3. It’s all a matter of risk perception. People outside the Netherland think it is crazy to build houses 5 meters below sea level. Naples is one of the kargest cities in Italy, situated in the shadow of the time bomb Vesuvius. Flood plains are flat and excellent building areas. So people gamble the risk of “not in my life time”. Difficult policy dilemma.

  4. Very true, Hans. The Brisbane floods come about once every 50 years – so there is just long enough between them to forget all the lessons. Same with the most extreme bushfires, and many other things. If I remember rightly the French always had grand looking defensive lines against the Germans, yet they were successfully invaded three times at the same place, near Sedan.

    The trick would be to get the risk assessments right. With floods it is pretty easy – the 1893, 1974 and 2011 maps of Brisbane have an almost identical pattern, which is hardly surprising since barring a few earthworks the land is all more or less at the same height. So they could start by just restricting new and bigger buildings in the most vulnerable areas. I am not aware that they do this though – too busy with fantasy sea level rises from global warming, and other “Hersenschimmen”.

  5. David Brewer, you mention the 1893 floods and rainfall measured at the Crohamhurst observatory. Cromhamhurst is in the Sunshine coast hinterland in the hills not far from Maleny. The measurement recorded there was called the Mooloolah Event a cyclone which hit the Sunshine Coast (Mooloolahbar is sea exit of the Mooloolah River) This event of course flooded all the Sunshine Coast east of the now Bruce Highway (which was cut in a few places by floods in 2011). There are many weather stations in the area (eg Buderim PO, Nambour Bowls, Palmwoods PO etc) which had rainfall similar to that measured at Crohamhurst) There is a possibility of another cyclone directly hitting the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. People will always tempt nature and live in places where there are threats such as storm surges, floods, bushfires, earthquakes etc. We went through two bushfires (with fires surrounding the house burning fences, burning outbuildings etc) when we lived in Sydney. We have reduced our risks living in SE Qld. However, buildings can be designed to reduce risks. It is mostly old buildings (particularly wooden buildings erected on wooden stumps) that are destroyed by cyclones and tidal storm surges near the coast. Think of oil platforms in the north sea. It is not necessary to go to that extreme but house should be built on a thick solid concrete slab with large concrete pillars through which water can flow. Walls of the raised house should be concrete particularly a central concrete core. Metal roofs work if properly bolted down on metal trusses and bearers.

  6. Sastric

    > ” … risk based insurance premiums”

    Yes, that is the free market approach. The reason it doesn’t deter risk behaviour is that people choose to underinsure to keep premiums low and then when wiped out, run a “woe is victim me” line through a sympathetic meeja who revel in beatups about flint-hearted, tricky dicky insurance companies.

    Depressingly predictable and historically documented ad nauseum.

  7. What’s needed is full transparency in insurance policies for flood and bushfire cover. With the internet we are slowly getting there.

    A while back I went to a house down south that was in the middle of forest with trees and bush within 3 meters of the wooden house.

    I asked the owner wasn’t he concerned about bushfires. His response was,

    “Nah. Insurance is cheap.”

    Doubtless, people like me at zero bushfire risk, are paying the bulk of the real cost.

  8. Totally off topic, but one day (several years ago) David Brewer and I were waiting for a bus.
    The bus was a bit late.
    David said, “If it doesn’t come soon we’ll go without it”.
    The ride was about 10kms.
    A fine man is David Brewer.

  9. A reader from NZ has emailed these ideas –
    Warwick,
    You ask a question in you latest blog. There is an answer.
    For over 1,000 years the Dutch have fought water. A couple of decades ago they stopped. They decided to learn to live with it. The solution in bloody brilliant: amphibious homes. The site on which a group of architects put their original ideas forward was www.h2olland.nl/index.asp. It is worth slowly working through and absorbing.

    Since then many other designs have appeared that you can search on “amphibious homes.”

    I have advocated people living on flood plains should consider these in an environment like NZ. Take a farmer whose land is prone to flooding. He is in a far better position to deal with his stock and crops if his family is snug and secure in their floating home with all facilities working through the sealed connecting pipe-cable (water, power, sewerage, phone)

    The folk who have built below the Thames Barrier would all be better off with amphibious homes that are standing on dry land for much of their life but able to bob-up when the water comes. Shucks cars can be parked on roofs. And those rebuilding in Edgecombe.

    Chew on it. But the authorities have to buy in and for most it goes in the to-hard basket

  10. “amphibious homes.”

    A friend of mine lived on his boat one summer in Toronto. He said even in the middle of summer it was f’ing freezing.

    Unless you live in the tropics, the water is almost always significantly colder than the air, has a high thermal capacity and is constantly circulating. A floating home would require a lot of insulation and even then energy costs would be high.

    Again in Toronto, Hurricane Hazel struck in the 1950s with a substantial death toll, and shortly afterwards all building on floodplains was banned, and all valleys were made parks with very nice walking and cycling trails.

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