2022 Disaster Preparedness Award Winner

Ipswich City Council, QLD

Forewarned is forearmed—Ipswich Integrated Catchment Plan

Ipswich City Council, QLD—Forewarned is forearmed—Ipswich Integrated Catchment Plan

The Project

There are more than 37,000 buildings within the Ipswich LGA floodplain extent (including 63 pieces of critical infrastructure), and almost 84,000 residents. Flood is a familiar experience for many of them.

Having endured significant flooding in 1893, 1974, 2011 and 2013, Ipswich has undertaken the most comprehensive flood study in its history to prepare for and respond to future flooding events, knowing that forewarned is forearmed. The result is the Ipswich Integrated Catchment Plan (IICP); which took two and a half years to investigate, build and, in 2022— implement.

This Plan is designed to help the community build flood resilience through initiatives such as improved catchment planning, community awareness and evacuation routes, flood resilient home designs, city planning and development controls and large-scale revegetation and climate modelling.

The Plan makes 68 recommendations across key areas from right across council, including land use and planning, physical mitigation, community awareness and resilience, emergency management, property specific actions, and mapping of current and future flood risk.

It fulfills a key recommendation from the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry that suggested councils are responsible for local floodplain management plans in line with best practice. The Plan exceeded this recommendation by building on important regional flood studies, including the Brisbane River Catchment Study as well as the Brisbane River Strategic Floodplain Management Plan.

Beyond that, the Plan covers integrated management options, considering all aspects of the way water moves and mapping appropriate council tools and responsibilities against those in recognition that you can't stop flood risk, but you can change or move it.

In the Plan's development, council undertook an in-depth community engagement process via its online platform, Shape Your Ipswich, recognising local and historical knowledge play a key role in understanding local flood behaviour and designing mitigation and prevention measures.

In 2022, mother nature struck again, twice. Major flooding occurred in February and May. The IICP had only been finalised and adopted by council a matter of days before the February flood and was instrumental in shaping emergency response actions and the development and implementation of flood recovery programs.

The Award Category

This category recognises local government projects that:

  • support communities to manage and adapt to climatic events by investing in disaster prevention, recovery and preparedness
  • actively reduce risks from disasters and pandemics, particularly as they impact local communities
  • ensure the Australian community is prepared to endure more frequent challenging events
  • implement programs and policies that ensure communities survive and prosper following these events.

Successful projects in this award category benefit communities by:

  • lowering the potential impacts of disasters and pandemics by analysing and managing the causes
  • identifying risks and mapping capacity to respond to hazards
  • protecting lives and livelihoods, communities and individuals
  • reducing damage or loss from disaster, particularly when it comes to public and private infrastructure.

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