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Better managing Wairarapa's flood risk

Better managing Wairarapa's flood risk


flood engineer in Ruamahanga

Flood engineer George Harley with a map of the rivers and land affected by a one in 50year flood

If you use the rivers in the Upper Wairarapa Valley, or might potentially be flooded by them, Wellington Regional Council wants to talk to you.

Over the next two years the regional council is updating its system for managing the floodplain north of Carterton. This includes the Ruamahanga, Waingawa, Waipoua, Whangaehu, Kopuaranga and Taueru rivers.

Regional council flood engineer George Harley, of Masterton, says the management of these rivers and the risks to the flood-prone land around them will be pulled together in floodplain management plan.

Mr Harley says the plan will look at where flood waters will go in floods of various sizes – up to the maximum flood the hills and weather in Wairarapa can deliver.

“We will update the existing information about the extent of flooding with up to date aerial survey data and computer models that can more accurately predict where flood waters will extend to and to what depth.”

“People’s recollections of high water marks and areas of past flooding will be very useful too.

Mr Harley says the rivers are a risk to people and property on the floodplain, but should also be enjoyed by everyone, and need to be managed for the benefit of many.

“When putting this plan together we need to look at how people use the river for recreation, how they value its cultural and heritage aspects, and the best way of managing the environment in the water and around the banks.”

“If people have a stake in these rivers and want to have a say in managing them, we want to hear from them.”

Regional council staff will be at the Masterton A & P show on the weekend with flood extent maps showing where floodwaters are expected to go in a 1 in 50 year flood.

“Discussing how best to manage a river is always an interesting conversation,” says Mr Harley. “Drop in and see us. Or contact me at the regional council’s Masterton office in Chapel Street, phone 378 2484.”


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