Federation drought

Author : J. V. Hodgkinson F. C. A. Chartered Accountant : Aug 2006 to November 2013    

The principal thrust of this website is
FLOOD PROOFING BRISBANE from damaging floods to the point of extinction. MITIGATING flooding in Ipswich and Gympie. Putting REAL MEANING into "Drought proofing SEQ" and ensuring our water supplies by natural means well into the future

This is my review based on official statistics and documents. It is done in conjunction with Ron McMah, grazier of Imbil and Trevor Herse, retired of the Gold Coast




May 2009: No change since August 2007

The QCCCE report shown compares the rainfall in the Catchments for the six years QCCCE_page_2.jpg (159428 bytes) 2001 to 2006 with the Federation drought era from 1898 to 1903. The Era followed a major flood in 1898. It is interesting to compare the rainfall for both periods in both dams catchments. 

They qualified their report to the extent  that they do not have the Hydrology for the Federation period and concentrated on Rainfall comparisons. If it were present, they may well have arrived at a different conclusion. 

May 2010. It should be noted that the Water Resource (Moreton) plan 2007 requires the IQQM model to calculate all flows from 1890 to 2000 at pre-development levels to arrive at the "Mean Annual Flow". Therefore there was ample evidence to compare the inflows of the "Federation drought" with this last "dry" period 2001 to 2007. Click to view inflow chart supplied by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM). While the Federation period was calculated, the IQQM model was quite capable of recording 2001 to 2007 inflows as well. End  

You may have read the "Summer V Non-Summer" information at this button. The items of interest are the stable relationship of the Summer months 1893 to 1960. The Summer months were around 50% of the annual totals and this was consistent with all rainfall stations in both the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams.

This summary of Bureau of Meteorology rainfall dataFederation drought.jpg (241659 bytes) shows that that they are correct on an overall rainfall basis as the Federation period received slightly more rainfall. 

However there are two telling points of difference. 

The first is the complete reversal of the Summer and Non-Summer rains in the Federation period. 

The second is that an examination of the Federation period Federation_grading.jpg (170988 bytes) shows that the months that were likely to create inflow were decidedly less in volume and count than the current period 2001 to 2006.

In addition, they overwhelmingly occurred in the non-summer months in both Dams.


Various other points in this web-site confirm that the Summer Rainfall in the 6 years 2001 to 2006 were quite normal and the balance of the reported 23.8 percent that did not fall was in the non-summer months that provide little inflow.

Further, there was an unrelated suggestion confronting Long Range Forecasters and reported in the C/Mail 9/06/2007 page 5. That the Dams would fill if this period followed the weather patterns of 1903. It bears comparison.     (C/Mail 9/06/2007 Page 5) . 

In the Somerset, the four months of December 2003 to March 2004 saw rainfall of 673mm compared to the four months in 1903 May to August was 486mm being the period that the Federation drought broke. ( the article said May to July. August added for balance.) 

In the 2003/04 period we saw the rise in dam levels of 10 percent in the Wivenhoe and 27 percent in the Somerset. Hardly "drought" breaking rainfall and certainly not acknowledged as such by any Authority.

The suggestion does not stand up.

The Wivenhoe comparison for the same periods as above is 578mm 2003/04 to 392mm in 1903.


The Federation drought has been raised by the Climate Change Centre of Excellence. The hard data of the Bureau of Meteorology rainfall stations seems to dispute their conclusions and has been presented for your own observation. I am apparently reading the same data as the Centre. You will see from my original review of August 2006 under the "Initial Statistics" button that I concluded the period had received close to 80 percent of average rainfall. Their conclusion was 76.2 percent. 

My understanding of Scientists engaged in research is they discipline themselves to keep an open mind. The Climate Change Centre of Excellence may well find that the Federation Drought may reveal more about changing weather patterns than the last 6 years of Rainfall.

The inclusion of this section has little to do with the overall conclusions.

My main point of disagreement is that they are classifying the 2001 to 2006 as a drought in the Catchments. To this end they are currently in good company.