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Funding boost to improve flood resilience of communities affected by 2023 cyclones

Waikato Regional Council has been awarded $2.286 million from the Local Government Flood Resilience Co-investment Fund towards three projects to improve the resilience of communities impacted by Cyclone Hale and Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023.

The funding includes:

  • $940,000 towards river management within the Waihou Valley scheme, with a focus on gravel management and stabilisation/revetment works in the Kauaeranga River, Kirikiri Stream, Puriri River, Omahu Stream, Hikutaia River, Komata River and Ohinemuri river
  • $704,000 towards mitigating future flood risk in the Waipā, lower Waikato and west coast catchments by removing waterway obstructions and constructing at least 85 in-stream erosion control structures
  • $642,000 towards the removal of storm affected vegetation (largely old poplar, willow and pine) from waterways in the Coromandel Peninsula and planting willows and poplars to help stabilise the riverbanks.

The funding is in addition to the $1.038 million it received from the fund in October last year, towards river management works in the Coromandel Peninsula and to remediate damage to its Graham’s Creek catchment flood scheme in Tairua.

Integrated Catchment Management Director Greg Ryan says the summer 2023 flooding from the cyclones and frequent localised heavy rain left behind a substantial trail of damage for Waikato Regional Council to remedy for its communities.

The flooding has placed a huge workload and financial burden on the council, so this funding is greatly appreciated,” says Greg.

“Within the Waihou Valley Scheme, for example, the cost of recovery and increased resilience of rivers is estimated at $1.26 million above what we’ve already spent and is expected to take a further two years.

“For all these projects, we need to do more than just the basic remedial works which will only withstand a flood of similar size of less. To increase resilience against larger magnitude events we need to conduct full scale stabilisation of the riverbanks and remove gravel, bed loads and debris that were deposited in the channels during the extreme weather events.”

More stable rivers and natural features slow the flow of water, store excess water and reduce sedimentation. The river management practices undertaken by Waikato Regional Council protects people, property and infrastructure by:

  • creating increased capacity within river channels
  • reducing risk of tree fall causing instream blockages that exacerbate flooding and debris impacts
  • improving bank stability to cope in high rainfall events
  • decreasing sediment input into channels and harbours.

 

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