The upside to the flooding emergency affecting Queensland's southwest is that dam levels in Brisbane have hit 80 per cent for the first time in almost a decade.
Three years ago, when Brisbane dam levels threatened to creep below 10 percent, and level six water restrictions were in place, it would have been hard to imagine the waterlogged city residents face today.
The combined capacity of Brisbane's three major dams has risen to 80.5 per cent, the highest since March 2002. Somerset dam is overflowing, with excess water being funnelled to Wivenhoe dam, the city's main reservoir.
Wivenhoe Dam, capable of holding twice the water of Sydney Harbour, is more than two-thirds full, with it’s volume having increased by 8 per cent since last Friday.
North Pine dam is full to the brim, causing the floodgates to be opened after 187mm of rain fell on its catchment in the past week.
In November 2008, The Bligh government backed down from plans to begin pumping treated sewage into Brisbane's dams once storages fell to 40 per cent capacity from February last year. The plan was a key part of the state's $9 billion strategy to drought-proof southeast Queensland, and the decision to back down from it followed a collapse in public support.
In associated news, the waters receded yesterday in the flood ravaged town of Charleville, 760km west of the state’s capitol, a flood tide has surged through swollen creeks and rivers, threatening other communities.
Despite disruptions and the occasional scare for locals, few people were complaining after years of parched conditions gave way to the promise of a season of plenty.
The clean-up of Charleville and the town of Roma to its east, both declared disaster areas by the state government has now begun, with the bill for flooded homes, roads and other damaged infrastructure estimated to top $100 million.
Premier Anna Bligh toured Charleville yesterday, where hundreds of people were evacuated at the height of the emergency on Tuesday; the premier said Kevin Rudd had agreed to provide the assistance of the Army if required.
While the rain was good news for farmers, some of whom had endured nearly a decade of drought, the town had been hit hard by the fast-rising flood.
Ms Bligh said, "It will take some time until the water goes down and we can get a real good handle on how much property and infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed," adding that it was unlikely the state would take up the offer of military assistance from the Prime Minister.