Flood crusader catches gauge out of water

A FLOOD gauge worth $40,000 has been found stuck in the mud, operating above the low water mark in the Mary River.

Known as a key gauge in reading the flood situation in Maryborough, the McAlister St gauge has been installed on the banks above the low water mark, rather than in the river.

Flood mitigation enthusiast Graham Wode noticed the footings of the gauge in the mud after he went down to investigate why the readings weren't working.

"It doesn't read the full range of its capability," he said.

"The whole lower system is a failure."

But Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the aim of the gauge was to provide water level data during floods.

"The footings only support the gauge and do not have any bearing on the function of the equipment," he said.

"A 50cm rise in the river is not considered a flood so it is within tolerances for recording equipment.

"The BoM requires that for flood warning the gauges be above the low water mark because they do not want to gather information related to the bottom of the tidal cycle."

But Mr Wode also questioned how much information the council was giving to the public.

He claimed the reason the McAlister St gauge wasn't on the Bureau of Meteorology site was the council knew it was incorrect.

"If BOM put it on their site they'd have 1000 phone calls from people wondering what the hell was going on," he said.

"The council wanted to keep this in-house."

But Cr O'Connell hit back, saying the reason the gauge wasn't online was a fault at the BoM's end.

"At the time of the flood, council was waiting on BoM to configure its database," he said.

"Council does not control the display of information on the BoM site."

There are 18 flood gauges in the Mary River.