Te Mahinga Ārai Waipuke o Waipaoa

Waipaoa Flood Control

Flood control climate change resilience project

In 2020 the government declared a climate change emergency, recognising the need for us all to prepare for the impacts of a warming climate, with more erosion, more flash floods and wildfires in our region.

Climate change is the most significant long-term issue facing our region. We’re expecting sea level rise, coastal erosion and floods affecting homes and recreation.

We need flood protection to keep our people and community safe from our rivers breaking their banks in heavy rains. We also need to ensure that our important horticulture, viticulture and farming assets are protected from the effects of climate change.

Council therefore wants to accelerate the delivery of our Waipaoa Flood Control Climate Change Resilience project, giving greater protection our community needs against floods, safeguarding both economic development and wellbeing.

The project’s aim is to increase the level of flood protection of the Waipaoa River to cater for a 100-year heavy rain event, accounting for climate change impact (sea level rise and larger rain events) out to 2090.

The original Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme was designed in 1949 and was completed in 1969. It's considered to be one of Council’s most valuable assets and protects some 10,000 hectares of fertile floodplain land. Construction work to improve the scheme started in February 2019 and involves upgrading approximately 64km of stopbanks along the Waipaoa River by 2030/31.

Stopbank work

As well as making the stopbanks higher, construction work will widen the stopbank profile from the current 1.5m top crest to a 4m wide top crest. Stopbank heights are being increased by about 1-2 metres in some places.

Experts have told us higher and wider stopbanks are needed to provide the full level of protection we need. This means increased costs of $13.2m.

In August 2020, Council was awarded $7.5m of external funding support by the Provincial Development Unit to accelerate the delivery phase of the project. This external funding reduces the financial contribution that the community has to pay towards the project.

The decision to continue as planned and invest the extra $13.2m to finish the Waipaoa River Flood Control Climate Change Resilience project would give communities within the floodplain a higher level of protection from floods by 2030/31. It will increase our overall rates and debt, but we would remain within our proposed debt limit

Planned stopbank upgrade work

Feb 2022 – Dec 2022Flood mitigation work on Wi Pere trust land – Lavenham Rd western side
Dec 2022 – Jan 2023Between Whitmore and Caesar Road – 1.2km
Dec 2022 – June 2023Ocean to Matawhero SH2 Bridge (Te Arai River) – 12km
Oct 2023 onwardsWestern side until complete - Matawhero Bridge upstream
2030/31Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme fully upgraded and operations on both sides.

Total project cost estimate - $32-35 million

Completed stopbank upgrade, raised and widened on eastern side

April 2022Between Whitmore Road and Kaitaratahi Hill – 3km
March 2022Between Ford and Caesar Roads – 1km
Oct 2021 - Feb 2022Upstream of Matawhero SH2 bridge along eastern side to Ferry Road – 4.5km
Apr – May 2021Upstream of Matawhero SH2 bridge - 3km
Oct 2020 – March 2021Railway Bridge and Matawhero SH2 Bridge - 4km
Oct - Dec 2020Waipaoa River Mouth and Railway Bridge – 2km
Dec 2019 – Feb 2020Railway Bridge near Waipaoa river mouth – 2km
Oct - Dec 2019Between Bruce and Ferry roads - 2km
Feb 2019Between Ford and Bruce roads - 2.1km
2021-2031 Long Term Plan

As part of the 2021-2031 Long Term plan consultation we received 186 submissions points on protecting our region from floods. 61% were in support of Council's preferred option to complete the Waipaoa River Flood Control Resilience project - on both sides of the river - as planned in 2030/31.