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Whitsunday Regional Council is submitting 3 applications for funding with the QldGovernment through the Flood Mitigation Project 2014-15, which will build resilience, help reduce the impact of future flooding and benefit the entire Whitsunday community.
Mayor Jennifer Whitney said Council is applying for funding for two Automatic Weather Stations(AWS) one at Bowen Airport and one in Airlie Beach and ten rainfall alert stations for the southern part of the Whitsunday region.
“Last month, I had positive discussions with the Minister for Local Government, CommunityRecovery and Resilience David Crisafulli about funding for these projects,” Mayor Whitney said.
“Currently the weather station at Bowen is a twice daily manual reporting station, which is out-dated and not sufficient to meet the current community needs and expectations.
“If Council’s application is successful, the existing manual station will be replaced with an AWS to provide the Whitsunday Disaster Management Group and the Bowen community with regular and accurate weather reporting, especially rainfall data near the Bowen township.
“This local real time data would be invaluable during a localised flash flooding event such as wasexperienced in Bowen through Cyclone Ita, 13 April 2014 and on 23 November 2013.
“An AWS would also complement existing flood mitigation measures Council is currentlyconducting including the flood mitigation study into the Don River,” she said.
Mayor Whitney said Council is also applying for an AWS for the Airlie Beach area, as currently the closest existing weather stations are situated on Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Coast Airport, south of Proserpine.
“Council is also applying for funding for ten rainfall alert gauges for the southern part of theWhitsunday region, which would help prepare for and reduce the impact of future flooding events in the region,” she said.
“Airlie Beach and its surrounds have the highest population base in the Whitsunday RegionalCouncil area of about 15,000 people and currently has no way of collecting weather data.
“There are no rainfall gauges in the southern part of the region that report through the Bureau ofMeteorology (BoM) with any reasonable frequency.
“The real time data from the proposed rainfall gauges would provide important information for the local community which would assist in flash flooding events such as was experienced in Airlie Beach through Cyclone Ita, 13 April 2014 and on 13 January 2008.
“An AWS in Airlie Beach would also provide real time weather information which would assist inadequate planning and response to severe weather events.
“If approved, all three projects will be done in cooperation with the BoM, with the information from the new weather stations and rainfall gauges easily accessible by anyone in the communitythrough the BoM website.
“These projects will provide significantly better and faster data than is currently available for thecommunity and the Whitsunday Disaster Management Group which would assist in preparation,recovery and resilience for flood future events.
“If successful, Council hopes to lodge future applications for ten rainfall alert stations across thenorthern area of the Whitsunday Region, which can only be done when the Don River floodmitigation study is finalised,” she said.
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