Brisbane on flood alert, lasting impact of QLD flood expected for Great Barrier Reef

With two thirds of the state experiencing flooding and the cities of Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Maryborough flooded, today things have worsened in Queensland with flooding in Gympie, Chinchilla, Dalby and other regional towns and the likelihood of a three metre rise in the Brisbane river overnight.

Sandbags are being issued to residents in some areas of Brisbane [1] while the City Council has announced a list of suburbs likely to flood [2]

Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from regional areas, including the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane after flash flooding in Toowoomba killed four, [3] devastated the main street and swept vehicles into waterways. Comparisons are being made to the 1974 [4] floods that inundated Brisbane on Australia day weekend of that year [5].
The ABC have launched a user-contributed flood map for citizen reports of local flooding.

Lasting impact on reef

Beside the human tragedy of lives lost and hundreds of thousand of homes destroyed, an environmental outcome of the deluge is the mooted destruction of 90% of the reef in some parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

Already mud and fresh water is suffocating large areas as soil is washed onto the reef from gushing regional rivers. The World Wildlife Fund released media on Jan 10 saying that toxins from chemical use on farmlands are likely to have “disasterous” effect marine life and corals, and made "bigger, dirtier and more dangerous due to excessive tree clearing, overgrazing and soil compaction" (WWF) [6]. High temperatures associated with storms are also expected to cause widespread coral bleaching.

The Courier Mail Jan 10 [7] reports that a “flood plume stretches 2300km along the coast from Cooktown to Grafton - and up to 120km out into the Coral Sea”.

WWF: Toxic pollution from Australia floods threatens marine life