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. and Apan, Armando and Mushtaq, Shahbaz and 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. ISSN 0921-030X

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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 (eg., 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.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher (Springer).
Depositing User: Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2011 05:55
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2014 22:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptive capacity; Charleville; climate change adaptation; flood; resilience; vulnerability
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140219 Welfare Economics
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1007/s11069-011-9791-y

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