Flood monitoring equipment was faulty, M'boro man says
A MARYBOROUGH flood safe campaigner claims the region did not have proper warning before this year's floods because an automatic gauge near Churchill St was faulty.
Graham Wode was responsible for recording weather data as part of his 33-year police career - he also gave a statement to the 2011 Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.
He has spent the past two years studying the region's river height gauges - used to warn against floods - searching for faults and potential improvements.
Mr Wode said the Fraser Coast missed out on the warning it should have had before the January disaster.
He said the fault also meant disaster management teams were unable to access up-to-date river height data from the Churchill St site when Maryborough was inundated.
"Churchill St gauge is the most important for Maryborough simply because it is an automatic reading and if you are doing projections upstream you look at your height increase here on an hourly basis to see how you're going," Mr Wode said.
He said he told the council about the problem months before the last wet season.
Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the Bureau of Meteorology owned the gauge.
He said the council funded repairs following the floods to get it operational.
BoM regional hydrology manager Queensland, Chris MacGeorge, said poor access to the gauge meant it was unable to be maintained properly.
"The bureau has proposed to the Fraser Coast Regional Council that this station be relocated to where the bureau has a manual station upstream of Churchill Street," Mr MacGeorge said.
"This manual station provides the bureau's official forecasts for Maryborough."
He said the council used some of the funds it was granted for three new automatic gauges upstream to "upgrade the bureau's unserviceable station at Churchill St".