Cyclone Debbie' influence went far and wide, these floods near Lismore, NSW.
Cyclone Debbie' influence went far and wide, these floods near Lismore, NSW.

Cyclone Debbie flood under the spotlight at SCU symposium

THE devastating impact of the Cyclone Debbie flood on Lismore will feature in a major symposium tomorrow, organised by the National Centre for Flood Research at Southern Cross University

The centre, established in the wake of last year's disaster, is aiming to combine world-leading research from the social, environmental and engineering sciences to find better solutions to flooding.

Its inaugural symposium, held at SCU's Lismore campus on Tuesday, has a packed agenda featuring panel sessions and speed talks from a range of perspectives on the subject of flooding

Lismore's experience of the Cyclone Debbie disaster last March-April will be in the spotlight as the subject of one of three panel sessions.

The event also includes speed talks on weather forecasting challenges, flood hydrology, and resilience building.

The aim of the event is to identify which research needs should be prioritised, and what capacity building is required to minimise the inevitable occurrence of floods.

Estimtaes of the damage to Lismore alone in last year's 11.59m flood was estimated at between $40 million to upwards of $200 million.

Southern Cross University is seen as well placed to lead the new centre, with strong capabilities in water management, hydrology, health sciences, floodplain management, and civil engineering, among others. But the centre's footprint goes beyond SCU alone, with an interdisciplinary team which includes key experts from other world-class research institutions such as UNSW and further afield.

The centre's founding director is Professor Caroline Sullivan from SCU's School of Environment, Science and Engineering and a specialist in environmental economics and policy.

The ultimate aim of the centre is to create a genuinely interdiscplinary research centre, which covers everything from weather forecastin, and hydrology, and catchment managment and engineering to the social and community aspects such as flood preparation, resilience and recovery.

For more information, email floodresearch@scu.edu.au



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