Managing flood protection and control
Our infrastructure strategy
Infrastructure refers to the long-lasting facilities that support our day-to-day living, such as buildings, roads and sewage plants. As a regional council, the only area of infrastructure we are directly responsible for is flood protection and control; things such as stop banks and pump stations. These structures are an important part of how we manage the risk of flooding across the region. Our infrastructure strategy looks ahead to the next 30 years to plan what flood protection and control structures will be needed in the Bay of Plenty.
The full infrastructure strategy will be available Monday 19 February.
This plan uses the best information available to us on the changes we are likely to see in our weather (such as more intense and frequent storms) and in our region (such as rising sea levels and where people are choosing to live). These factors impact on what will happen to our rivers and how and where we focus our efforts in managing the risk of flooding to protect our communities.
We have to decide which structures we continue to maintain and repair, where new flood protection may be needed, and whether some existing structures are no longer necessary. The other important aspect is how much this all costs. Our infrastructure strategy is closely related to our financial strategy to make sure we provide an appropriate level of flood protection and control that remains affordable for the community.
The issues over the next 30 years
When we are thinking about the risk of flooding over the next 30 years, there are a number of significant issues we have to take into account.
- Climate change
- Residual risk to community
- Events greater than design
- Levels of service
- Population growth/decline
- Geotechnical conditions
- Land use change
The way we plan to repair and maintain our current flood protection and control structures is set out in our River and Drainage Asset Management Plan. This covers all the river schemes we have in place and our plans for them over the next 50 years. We regularly review these plans, taking into account the issues outlined above. Historically, our approach to flood management has concentrated on building structures for flood protection. These can be expensive to build and maintain. Given the issues we expect to be facing over the next 30 years and beyond, we need to look at other options to deal with the risk of flooding. This may be instead of or alongside the built structures.
We are not planning any major changes in the short term, but we are looking at the longer term through the River Scheme Sustainability Project. This project looks at the long-term risks of flooding and reviews how we provide flood protection through our five major and 37 minor river and drainage schemes. It is also considering whether we need to do things differently to ensure a more sustainable approach. As the results of this project become available they will be fed into our infrastructure strategy to give us astrong long-term plan for flood management. We will also continue to have conversations with our community through the course of the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 about river scheme sustainability and the ongoing implications of climate change.
What does the plan look like?
In the short term, repairing the damage from the 2017 flood event is the priority. We will continue with the ongoing review of the river schemes and with the River Scheme Sustainability Project. Between 2018 and 2048, we expect to spend $103 million on new or replacement structures in our river schemes (capital expenditure) and $641 million on maintenance, repairs, analysis and modelling (operational expenditure). The chart illustrates the major new flood control infrastructure projects expected to be built over the next 30 years.