FLOOD preparation around the nation will be given a boost after a new government website was launched on Monday, revealing the flood risk to towns and rural areas.
The National Flood Risk Information Portal was the result of much work by Geoscience Australia and the Attorney-General's department, compiling six years of flood satellite images, studies and data from around the country.
The new website features an interactive map where visitors can search by their own region, town or postcode, or by highlighting an area, and bring up maps showing the frequency and extent of floods in that area.
It also allows the reader a second map which can be searched to reveal all studies of floods, risk, and mitigation on particular regions and towns.
While the initial maps launched yesterday do include data going back six years, the remaining 19 years of satellite data held by Geoscience Australia will be added to the database over the next two years.
The maps also show the full extent of recent floods in the Condamine River area, the Norman and Flinders Rivers in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Goulburn to Lodden Rivers in Victoria.
These three areas are highlighted with all the satellite images, so visitors can see the course of different floods in the region and how the water came, and how slowly it dried up.
In the next two years, the entire country would include these more detailed parts of the map.
Eventually, the maps should improve town planning, flood mitigation and preparedness for floods across the country.
For more information, and to access the maps, go to: www.ga.gov.au/hazards/flood/national-flood-risk-information-project.html
In launching the National Flood Risk Information Portal with Geoscience Australia, Minister for Emergency Management Nicola Roxon and Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson says the portal will be a critical tool in our disaster preparedness kit.
"Easy access to flood risk information will give communities and planners a better understanding of their exposure to floods, as well as assist insurers in developing fair and reasonable policies,'' Ms Roxon said.
Minister Ferguson says the portal is part of the $12 million, four-year National Flood Risk Information Project initiated by the Australian Government in response to the Natural Disaster Insurance Review.
"The portal will use satellite imagery to map floods and will be supported by national guidelines to assist holders of flood risk information to make their flood studies and maps available through the Portal," he said.
"These guidelines, in conjunction with the recently announced agreement between Geoscience Australia and Engineers Australia to finalise the revision of the Australian Rainfall and Runoff guide, will drive improvements in the consistency and quality of flood studies."
The first phase of the Portal development includes an updated Australian Flood Studies Database with enhanced search functionality and a 'Google maps' style interface.
"We are working towards a Portal that will provide a single access point through which users can see all available flood maps and studies to assess whether they are in an area at risk of flooding," MrFerguson said.