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 constructed between 1953 and 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.
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.
Planned stopbank upgrade work
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.
|Date planned||Stopbank location|
|April – June 2023||Complete remaining stopbank upgrade on the eastern Side between Whitmore and Caesar Road.|
|April 2023||Start construction upstream from Opou Road working towards Matawhero SH2 Bridge.|
|October 2023||Complete remaining section at the Waipaoa River mouth downstream of railway bridge (western side).|
|October 2023||Complete remaining section between Whatatuna Floodgate to Manutuke Bridge.|
|October 2023 – June 2024||Upgrade between Matawhero (SH2) Bridge and Whakaahu Stream (western side).|
|October 2024 onwards||Progressively upgrade the western side stopbanks until complete – from Whakaahu Stream working upstream.|
|2030/31||Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme fully upgraded and operational on both sides.|
Total project cost estimate - $32-35 million
Completed stopbank upgrade, raised and widened (all located on eastern side)
|Date completed||Stopbank location|
|February 2023||Downstream from Opou Road to Whatatuna Floodgate fully upgraded - 2.2km|
|December 2022||Between Waipaoa River mouth and Te Arai Stream (western side) except remaining 200m - 8.5km|
|April 2022||Between Whitmore Road and Kaitaratahi Hill – 3km|
|March 2022||Between Ford and Caesar Roads – 1km|
|February 2022||Upstream of Matawhero SH2 bridge along eastern side to Ferry Road – 4.5km|
|May 2021||Upstream of Matawhero SH2 bridge - 3km|
|March 2021||Railway Bridge and Matawhero SH2 Bridge - 4km|
|December 2020||Waipaoa River Mouth and Railway Bridge – 2km|
|February 2020||Railway Bridge near Waipaoa river mouth – 2km|
|December 2019||Between Bruce and Ferry roads - 2km|
|February 2019||Between Ford and Bruce roads - 2.1km|