Saturday, April 13, 2024

Funds earmarked for North Island flood protection

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Infrastructure projects get $11.2m from Budget vote.
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Funding to reduce the risk of major flood damage across Waikato, Thames-Coromandel, Manawatū-Whanganui and Wairarapa has been unveiled by the government.

The $11.2 million from the $100m funding announced as part of Budget 2023 will go towards practical flood protection infrastructure like stop banks as well as other local measures that can protect communities from flooding, Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty said.

“I’ve seen first hand the damage that was caused to these regions, and in my own electorate of Wairarapa. The communities and local councils worked incredibly hard to get back on their feet, but we need to help councils prepare for future risks with locally led solutions,” McAnulty said.

Funding will go towards projects such as early warning systems and resilient communications, which are important tools for protecting communities from flood risk.

“We are investing in future focused work such as modelling to identify where efforts for additional warning systems, evacuation procedures, and new physical flood protection infrastructure should be targeted.

“No one wants to see the same level of damage to their homes and businesses again. We want communities still recovering from the extreme weather to be able to move on with their lives, feeling safer,” McAnulty said.

The breakdown of the $11.2m funding is:

• Wairarapa: $3.5m to remove blockages caused by the North Island weather events in Wairarapa’s Upper Ruamāhanga catchment. This work will reduce the potential for future widespread damage when rivers leave their channels and travel across land.

• Manawatū-Whanganui: $3.7m to the Horizons Regional Council for upgrading flood forecasting and communication resilience equipment, including sustained power supplies for sites inaccessible during events. The project will bring communication in-house for critical river and drainage management infrastructure, removing the reliance on cell phone communication. The project also includes modelling work to identify where efforts for additional warning systems, evacuation procedures, and new physical flood protection infrastructure should be targeted.

• Also in Manawatū-Whanganui, $640,000 to support the design, modelling and physical upgrades to areas in the Pohangina catchment as the councils and community work through longer-term risk mitigation options.

• Port Waikato:  $2.4m for work to prevent floodwater from entering homes during heavy rainfall events. Pools or floodgates will hold excess water, gradually releasing to avoid future flooding events. Stabilisation and rehabilitation work will prevent slips and further degradation of the steep slopes in the town. In addition, new flood modelling will support proactive management of flood risks, vital information for the deep-well pump station for efficiently removing excess floodwater in the town.

• Thames-Coromandel: $708,000 for gravel management and obstruction removal from within streams. This will reduce flood and erosion risk as well as the risk of bridge and culvert blockages. The natural capacity of rivers to retain and move water will be improved, reducing the frequency and impact of damage.

The Grahams Creek catchment, which runs through Tairua township, is susceptible to flash flooding and debris flow in the streams and surrounding land, with little or no warning. The government will contribute $331,000 to remediate damage caused during the cyclone; redesign and upgrade the weir to increase resilience to future weather events and improve flood scheme performance. The spillway and weir will divert flooding away from the residential areas into a designated floodway over and through the floodplain and estuary.

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