AR&R Revision Ensures Australia Keeps Its Head Above Water

AR&R Revision Ensures Australia Keeps Its Head Above Water

As ironic as it may seem for the thousands who have recently endured the long clean up after the Queensland floods, good news is not too far away.

Since 2003, James Ball, an associate professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, has been leading a team of over 100 of Australia’s top hydrologists, engineers and climate scientists to produce a new version of the Australian Rainfall and Runoff (AR&R). The first draft of the document is expected to be released  mid this year.

Since its first publication in 1958 Australian Rainfall and Runoff has been acclaimed as one the most influential and widely used guidelines published by Engineers Australia.  The current edition, published in 1987 is applicable nation wide and plays a forefront role in policy decisions  and design and planning of projects involving infrastructure (including roads, rail, airports bridges dams and stormwater/sewer systems, town planning, mining, flood management and warnings, operation of river systems and estimation of flood events nationally.

However, since the publication of the most recent version of AR&R the engineering society has developed a much deeper understanding of rainfall events and stream flow and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has developed a much more comprehensive database of rainfall history and projection methods. As such, many of the policies and procedures outlined and recommended within the current document have become outdated and no longer represent the accepted views of industry professionals both in terms of technique and approach to water management.

The Federal Government announced in June 2008 $2 million of funding to assist in the updating of AR&R. In addition, in 2007, the Australian Weather Bureau was granted $450 million over 10 years to transform the way Australia collects and used water information. The organisation currently holds over two terabytes of data in relation to rainfall events. In all, 21 revision projects shall be undertaken in order to fill knowledge gaps and it is estimated that the new AR&R document will cost approximately $20 million to produce.

The  new edition shall see more accurate representations of conditions in flood events and reduce the likelihood of flooding in storm events and shall include a more accurate method for estimating peak flows in regions for which historical rainfall information is not available. The new document is expected to be three times larger than the 1987 edition it replaces.

For more information on how you can protect your property from flooding, please do not hesitate to contact the office and speak to one of our engineers.

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