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New data to improve flood modelling

A $17 million design and environmental assessment contract has been awarded for improving the flood immunity at Tester’s Hollow, NSW.

For the first time in three decades, the Australian Rainfall and Runoff guidelines have undergone a major upgrade.For the first time in three decades, the Australian Rainfall and Runoff guidelines have undergone a major upgrade.

Over the past four years, Geoscience Australia and Engineers Australia have undertaken the comprehensive upgrade, which contains nearly 30 extra years of rainfall data from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Geoscience Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Pigram said the guidelines had been revised a number of times since its first publication in 1958, although there had not been a substantial update since 1987.

A review into the flood events in the summer of 2010-2011, including the January 2011 Brisbane floods, called for an upgrade of the guidelines.

“For the first time, the guidelines are completely based on Australian data. They include data from more than 30 years of observations from across the continent, including at least 100,000 storm events,” said Dr. Pigram in a statement.

“It’s not just the data we’ve updated and improved, we have also made the guidelines available for free online.

Engineers and town planners use the ARR guidelines to develop accurate and consistent flood studies and mapping across Australia. These are then used to design dams, stormwater drainage, improve floodplain management and assist land managers with soil conservation strategies.

Engineers Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Durkin said that engineers and town planners had been using the ARR Guidelines since they were first published by Engineers Australia over sixty years ago and that the comprehensive revision will be invaluable today and into the future.

“More accurate, consistent datasets and guidance means more accurate and consistent flood studies and mapping. This is not only good news for engineers and town planners, but for also for Australians living in areas with a flood risk,” said Mr. Durkin.

Ownership of the ARR Guidelines recently transferred from Engineers Australia to Geoscience Australia, the Australian Government’s advisor on the nation’s geography and geology.

The upgrade of the ARR Guidelines was officially completed on 25 November 2016.

The ARR Guidelines are publicly available for free from arr.ga.gov.au.

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