A leading Australian rivers expert warns flooding will continue to impact our rivers and coastal waterways because our catchments are no longer resilient to extreme weather events.

As parts of South-East Queensland experience flooding after a heavy rainfall band crossed the coast, rivers and water catchments are being pushed to the brink.

Professor Stuart Bunn of Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute said many of our river systems are vulnerable to these all too frequent extreme weather events.

“More water ends up in our river networks quicker due to a number of reasons but chief among them is the loss of our natural vegetation cover and modifications to stream channels.

“Every time it rains water gets concentrated into the channel network and with the unstable channels, river banks are easily eroded and we end up with problems including damage to infrastructure, and loss of valuable farm soil.”

Professor Bunn said we are also paying the price for not giving our rivers enough room to move.

“If we are going to live on a floodplain we have to learn to better adapt to these events”.

“There is much we can do to mitigate these problems, through improved river and catchment management. However, we have not seen sufficient investment to solve the problem. Until we do so, even a modest weather event can pose a risk to homes and infrastructure, and degrade the health of our waterways,” Professor Bunn said

Headshot of Professor Stuart Bunn, Director of Griffith University's Australian Rivers Institute

ARI Director Professor Stuart Bunn