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Taskforce to report on short-term flood mitigation measures

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Flooding Taskforce to deliver final progress report on short-term flood mitigation measures

The Mayoral Flood Taskforce will deliver its final progress report to the Council this Thursday 14 August, outlining short-term flood defence measures that will protect houses in the hardest-hit areas of Christchurch.

This report is the third progress report delivered to Council since the Taskforce was set up in May and outlines the breadth of work completed, underway or planned to alleviate the risk of flooding for the worst-affected areas. Until the report is presented to the Council on Thursday 14 August, the mitigations identified in the report that are yet to be funded are recommendations only and will only progress once funding is agreed.

Taskforce leader John Mackie says this final report shows for the first time the scale of the flooding problem across the city. It also illustrates the profound impact flooding has had on residents’ health and wellbeing.

He says the Taskforce’s focus was to look at measures that would help the most vulnerable households in the short-term until more long-term solutions can be considered. Temporary flood measures investigated by the Taskforce are not designed to protect against extreme flooding but will provide mitigation against rain events such as those that occurred in June 2013 or April 2014. The proposed solutions outlined in the report will reduce the risk of regular flooding if implemented and there is a focus on solutions that benefit a whole area rather than individual households.

Mr Mackie says a significant amount of work has already been completed since the Taskforce began. “This suite of measures is working effectively and we know has significantly reduced the risk of flooding in some of the most affected areas,” Mr Mackie says. “However, it is recognised that while this report offers viable solutions for most residents, there is still work to be done to address the issues faced by some residents whose properties will not be protected by the short-term measures outlined in the report.

“Individual house defences are likely to be the only options available in the short-term for these properties until long-term options are investigated and decided upon. However, the Council still needs to work with the Government and other agencies such as EQC and insurers to understand the contributions each party may make to funding these individual house defences. Continuing to work through this, and the funding of long-term solutions, is an absolute priority for the Council and its partner agencies,” Mr Mackie says.

Proposed work and work currently underway includes:
• Major waterway channel widening and deepening
• Temporary pumping solution in Flockton
• Reinstatement of stop-banks in some areas
• Installation of backflow prevention mechanisms on drains
• The repair of flap gates in the Avon and Heathcote rivers
• Removal of sediment, vegetation and debris from waterways.
• Bridge and culvert removals
• Raising the height of the sides of timbered drains
• Installation of the Tay Street Drain Pump Station, Kensington Avenue.

Mr Mackie says the Council is also continuing to look at ways of reducing the long-term flooding risk as part of its Land Drainage Recovery Programme. The Council is now reassessing two options for Dudley Creek that it considered in March 2014 in light of the short/medium-term mitigation work already completed or being carried out by the Taskforce. Option One included creek widening and deepening and Option Two included channel works and the installation of a pump station in Dudley. These are being reassessed taking into account measures such as creek widening and deepening and the installation of the Tay Street Drain Pump Station. Recommendations will be presented to the Council once this scoping work has been completed.

The Council is also urgently exploring the possibility of permanent or temporary relocation or retreat as part of a new Natural Hazards Strategy and a Resilience Strategy. “This is a complex issue and there needs to be a robust policy in place to inform decision-making,” Mr Mackie says.


In total, the Taskforce pinpointed nearly 1500 Christchurch properties vulnerable to regular flooding post-earthquake. The Taskforce included staff from the Council, the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT), Environment Canterbury (ECan), Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

The Mayoral Taskforce on Flooding was set up in May 2014 following a sequence of severe rain events that struck Christchurch in March and April 2014. Its aim was to fast-track work to identify the causes and possible short-term solutions available to householders who experienced repeated flooding.

To view the Taskforce’s final report to the Council, please click here or visit the Council website at www.ccc.govt.nz/floodmitigation
For further information, please call the Customer Call Centre on (03) 941 8999 or 0800 800 169, email queries to floodmitigation@ccc.govt.nz or visit www.ccc.govt.nz/floodmitigation

- Ends -

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