Free sandbags in Brisbane amid flood fears

·2-min read

Brisbane residents will be given sandbags more than a month before the wet season normally begins as the east coast braces for its third consecutive La Nina weather event.

Queensland's capital copped 795 millimetres of rain - the city's wettest week since records began in 1840 - when floods killed 13 people and damaged 18,000 homes and businesses across the state's southeast in February and March.

A third consecutive La Nina is forecast to bring above average rainfall to eastern Australia this summer, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said sandbags would be available for residents to pick up over the next three weekends from depots in Zillmere, Newmarket, Morningside and Darra.

The wet season doesn't usually start until late October, but he said council workers have already packed 150,000 sandbags, triple the standard stockpile.

"While we can't prevent severe weather, we can be better prepared, and that's particularly important given predictions of another season of severe La Nina conditions," Mr Schrinner said.

The mayor is particularly concerned about the low-lying suburbs of Karana Downs, Archerfield, Sherwood, Toowong, Yeronga, Yeerongpilly, Chandler, Bracken Ridge and West End.

The BOM said the La Nina weather phenomenon had only occurred in three consecutive years three times since 1900.

"Models indicate this La Nina event may peak during the spring and return to neutral conditions early in 2023," its climate outlook said.

"La Nina events increase the chances of above-average rainfall for northern and eastern Australia during spring and summer."

The council's move comes after the Liberal National Party mayor last week called for the state government to build more water supplies so dam operators wouldn't need to worry about reserves when deciding to release water ahead of forecast floods.

Operators of Wivenhoe Dam, Brisbane's main water supply, conducted a series of flood mitigation releases during the February-March deluge, which critics claim intensified flooding.

Water Minister Glenn Butcher brushed off the mayor's concerns, saying water-supply compartments of major dams were full, but the flood compartments were empty.

He said dam controllers needed to guarantee water supplies, and it was too early to know if flood releases would be needed this summer.

The government is still considering a report on its preparations and management of the floods from the state's Inspector-General of Emergency Management.

Mr Butcher said he hadn't read the report but suggested "there could be opportunities" to increase the capacity of flood compartments for some dams.