Callide dam overflowing
Callide dam overflowing Emma CLARKE

Dam review damns late release alerts

THE Callide Creek flood review has found the region's residents were not given enough warning before the dam gates were opened.

But it found, regardless of how the dam was operated after the heavy rainfall from Tropical Cyclone Marcia, Callide Valley communities would still have flooded.

More than 6000 people were isolated, 13 homes were destroyed and more than 200 homes, businesses and buildings were damaged.

The inquiry by the Inspector-General Emergency Management was launched after residents expressed concerns the dam exacerbated flooding.

The inquiry focused on flooding that occurred downstream of the Callide Dam, near Biloela in central Queensland, and the dam's operation.

Thirteen recommendations were handed down.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Inspector-General Iain Mackenzie noted systemic difficulties in the warnings from SunWater and the local disaster management group.

"It is clear that the time taken to issue alerts in relation to the opening of the dam gates could have been considerably reduced," she said.

The review also recommended undertaking a joint study with SunWater to determine the feasibility of operating Callide Dam as a flood mitigation dam and that SunWater and Banana Shire Council jointly develop a multichannel common warning strategy.

Flood monitoring, modelling and predicting improvements were also suggested.

Mr Mackenzie said if the recommendations were implemented he believed situations where people were trapped in their house looking at a 1m wall of water pressing against glass doors, children being evacuated within minutes of houses being inundated and elderly couples driving through water over their headlights would not occur again.

Mr Mackenzie said during the inquiry he had heard stories of remarkable bravery and willingness to help neighbours.

"I have been told heartbreaking stories such as that of a husband and wife separated in floodwater while trying to save their children, not knowing if they would see each other again; and of the heartbreak of children losing favourite toys, not realising how close they may have been to losing a lot more," he said.

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