Engineer says Callide Dam review was flawed

JAMBIN flood victim Glen Livingstone believes a review into the operation of Callide Dam during the February 20 flood was flawed - and now he has an engineer who agrees.

Mr Livingstone walked out of a June 5 town meeting that explained state Inspector-General Emergency Management Iain MacKenzie's findings, but not without first voicing his opinion.

Mr Livingstone, a resident of Jambin for 22 years, believes "the hydrologist had no idea" and Ken Pearce, who has 40 years of dam engineering experience, agrees in his critique of the review.

Mr Pearce blamed dam operators SunWater for collecting water at the start of the flood and releasing it down the Callide Valley at the peak.

"The IGEM said the review would focus on 'getting to the facts'. He has clearly failed in this regard," Mr Pearce's critique reads.

"It would have been prudent of Mr MacKenzie to at least establish whether dam operators were reasonable."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk commissioned the review after she saw damage from the flood firsthand.

The IGEM headed the review, released on June 4, that concluded: "Regardless of how Callide Dam was operated… the communities on the Callide Valley would still have experienced a major flood."

Chartered engineer Mr Pearce hasn't worked for SunWater in the company's 15-year history and said he critiqued the review out of sympathy for the Callide Valley community.

"Once the dam was full the gates opened automatically to create an inland tsunami," he said.

The IGEM's conclusions were based on "flawed modelling by a consulting hydrologist", according to Mr Pearce, who believes the consultant's work should be reviewed.

Both consulting firm BMT WMB and IGEM claimed they had not received the critique.

A spokesman for the Office of the Inspector General Emergency Management said staff were aware of the critique and its distribution.

Mr Pearce sent the critique to media outlets, Banana Shire Council, Callide State Member Jeff Seeney and the Premier.

Next week lawyers involved in the class action against SunWater for the operation of the dam will return to Queensland, and Mr Livingstone will continue to clean up from the flood.

The retiree cannot sell his house because "nobody will buy a house that's going to get flooded, and according to the review (SunWater) is legally obliged to flood us".

Ken Pearce'sproposals:

  • Establish whether dam operating procedures were reasonable
  • Were recommendations of the 2013 review fully implemented?
  • Identify and document how Callide Dam was operated during the flood event

Topics:  callide dam jambin

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