Volume 24 Issue 2, 2009

Flood emergency management decision support system on the Gold Coast, Australia

Hamid Mirfenderesk

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


Gold Coast has long been rated as the most vulnerable area subject to flooding in Australia (Smith, Handmer 2002). In recent years there has been a growing concern worldwide about climate change impacts including sea level rise, increased frequency and severity of storms and changes in rainfall patterns. Implications resulting from these changes include increase in the risk of flooding. Therefore, future floods are more likely to overwhelm existing protection measures more frequently, exposing us to more residual risks. Addressing the issue of an increase in residual flood risk, Gold Coast City Council has been developing a flood emergency decision support system as part of a 10 year flooding and drainage plan. This system integrates Council’s flood modelling capacity, properties, infrastructure and population data into a single easy-to-use package. Using this system, emergency managers are able to have access to valuable forecasted flood information. The Decision Support System (DSS) is designed mainly to assist in a post-disaster situation; although currently it is being used for pre-disaster flood emergency planning. As a post-disaster measure it can identify vulnerable population and assist in the evacuation of the population at risk. Its availability on the Internet allows it to be potentially used for implementation of flood emergency procedures by vulnerable places such as child and aged-care centres. This paper provides a description of the elements of the system that has been developed or implemented so far, provides a brief description of the elements that are planned to be developed in future, make recommendations on how such systems can be improved and how their improvements can contribute to better flood emergency management.