Information flows at River Scheme AGMs
Last week eight of Wairarapas ten river scheme committees met in in Masterton to discuss work programmes for 2015/16, elect chairmen, agree scheme rates and understand more about riverworks resource consent renewals and developments with the Te Kauru Upper Ruamahanga Floodplain Management planning process that is ongoing in the region. The Waiohine River Scheme meets in Greytown, Wednesday 10 June and Lower Valley Scheme in Martinborough, Friday 12 June.
Scheme committee members endorsed the work that had been undertaken during the previous operational year and discussed areas of concern for the year ahead.
Scheme committees are responsible for agreeing a quite significant budget in total. Many of our committee chairs have lived along our rivers for a long time and have a good deal of knowledge and often some insightful questions and suggestions regarding the scheme they oversee, said David Boone, Wairarapa Flood Protection Operations Leader.
In the past we have met individual committees at points along the river to discuss particular concerns. Today we wanted the committee chairs to understand a real overview of the river system to gain a better understanding of the similarity of issues being dealt with by neighbouring schemes.
Committee members were presented with an aerial photographic overview, from Mount Bruce to the confluence of the Waiohine. A presentation about the Te Kauru Upper Ruamahanga Floodplain Management Plan was made and the development of this strategic plan for northern river management was discussed.
Several chairs told me how valuable it was to be able to see the full extent of the river movement along its course; where beaches were building up or where planted buffer zones were particularly narrow for example. It was a useful platform to discuss how and where money should be prioritised. We hope they will take a more informed view back to their communities and engage them in discussions about how they would like the rivers managed in the future.
River Scheme Committee members were also updated on progress with renewal of resource consents for routine maintenance in the rivers. A new initiative will make the delivery of work programmes more flexible, responsive to community need and able to accommodate developments in best practice techniques more readily. This Adaptive Management Protocol for Riverworks is supporting current consent renewals for GWRC riverworks across the Wellington region.
Adaptive management is a new way of working for our Flood Protection Department. It means that instead of a significant amount of time being spent every ten years to progress consents that allow us to undertake various works in the river. We are applying for a thirty-five year consent and can manage any change of riverworks techniques or plans in a much more responsive way, informed by monitoring and with consideration to environmental aspects of river management.
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