Approval sought for Waiohine River Floodplain Management Plan
Work to progress a long-term, future-proofed flood protection solution for the central Wairarapa Valley has reached a milestone. The Waiohine River Floodplain Management Planning Advisory Committee (WRFMPAC) has approved its preferred option for submission to the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Residents potentially affected by proposals will be updated on progress this week. If the draft proposals are accepted widespread community consultation would begin March 2016 with a view to signing off the plan by mid-2016.
Graeme Campbell, General Manager GWRC Flood Protection, credits the endeavours of the advisory committee, led by co-chairs South Wairarapa District Council Cllr Viv Napier and well known community member, Bruce Slater, in developing a robust plan that balances often competing priorities.
"Understanding the complexities of floodplain management planning and developing a consensus that meets the community's flood protection needs, that also recognises its environmental and cultural concerns and offers an affordable solution is no easy task," says Campbell.
"Committee members have not backed away from asking the tough questions and pursuing detailed responses, this plan reflects their passion to achieve a workable, affordable solution for the central section of the Wairarapa Valley."
Members of the community affected by the proposals have already had preliminary discussions with GWRC Flood Protection Officers. These business, home and landowners will be updated by letter over the week ahead.
"The committee has been working to balance improving flood protection in a way future generations can maintain affordably," says committee co-chair Bruce Slater.
"Currently the river management is going well, but we've had a calm period in terms of floods and it's easy to be complacent about the impacts. I have worked on this river a long time and seen it flood on a cycle every fifteen years or so. I believe the committee has developed a workable option and we will see protection in place in a relatively short time."
If approved the final Waiohine River Floodplain Management Plan would include a stop-bank along part of the true right bank of the river (the Greytown side) that would protect the majority of urban Greytwon against a "one-hundred-year flood". This stop-bank would then lower to a "fifty-year flood" to off-set the effects on the Carterton side of the river. Everyone will be better off in floods up to the 50 year level but there would be an increase in flood levels in the Matarawa Road area in floods greater than the 50 year return period level.
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