Resilience, vulnerability and adaptive capacity of an inland rural town prone to flooding: a climate change adaptation case study of Charleville, Queensland, Australia

Keogh, Diane U., Apan, Armando, Mushtaq, Shahbaz, King, David, and Thomas, Melanie (2011) Resilience, vulnerability and adaptive capacity of an inland rural town prone to flooding: a climate change adaptation case study of Charleville, Queensland, Australia. Natural Hazards, 59 (2). pp. 699-723.

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Australia is currently experiencing climate change effects in the form of higher temperatures and more frequent extreme events, such as floods. Floods are its costliest form of natural disaster accounting for losses estimated at over $300 million per annum. This article presents an historical case study of climate adaptation of an Australian town that is subject to frequent flooding. Charleville is a small, inland rural town in Queensland situated on an extensive flood plain, with no significant elevated areas available for relocation. The study aimed to gain an understanding of the vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity of this community by studying the 2008 flood event. Structured questionnaires were administered in personal interviews in February 2010 to householders and businesses affected by the 2008 flood, and to institutional personnel servicing the region (n = 91). Data were analysed using appropriate quantitative and qualitative techniques. Charleville was found to be staunchly resilient, with high levels of organisation and cooperation, and well-developed and functioning social and institutional networks. The community is committed to remaining in the town despite the prospect of continued future flooding. Its main vulnerabilities included low levels of insurance cover (32% residents, 43% businesses had cover) and limited monitoring data to warn of impending flooding. Detailed flood modelling and additional river height gauging stations are needed to enable more targeted evacuations. Further mitigation works (e.g., investigate desilting Bradley's Gully and carry out an engineering assessment) and more affordable insurance products are needed. Regular information on how residents can prepare for floods and the roles different organisations play are suggested. A key finding was that residents believe they have a personal responsibility for preparation and personal mitigation activities, and these activities contribute substantially to Charleville's ability to respond to and cope with flood events. More research into the psychological impacts of floods is recommended. Charleville is a valuable representation of climate change adaptation and how communities facing natural disasters should organise and operate.

Item ID: 21240
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-0840
Keywords: adaptive capacity, Charleville, climate change adaptation, flood, resilience, vulnerability
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2012 23:22
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl Planning) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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