Cumulatively flooding is the most damaging of all natural disasters in Australia (van den Honert et al. 2014). Floods also result in more fatalities than any other natural disaster apart from heatwave. However floods have the highest preventable damage of any other natural disaster. Structural measures can help mitigate flood risk, but there remains a need for a comprehensive and integrative approach to address the substantial residual risk.
Flood warnings are the most effective measure available to mitigate the impact of flooding and to increase community resilience. The value of flood warning is to enable people to take action to lessen the impacts of a coming flood and help agencies to carry out their essential tasks during flood events (AIDC 2009).
Recent widespread flooding across many parts of Australia has again highlighted the importance of effective flood warning services that can enable communities to take protective action. Fundamental to the effectiveness of the Total Flood Warning System (TFWS) is the availability of accurate near real-time rainfall and river-level data, essential for preparing useful and specific flood forecasts and warnings.