Te Mahinga Ārai Waipuke o Waipaoa

Waipaoa Flood Control

Flood control climate change resilience project

In 2020 the government declared a climate change emergency, recognising the need for us all to prepare for the impacts of a warming climate, with more erosion, more flash floods and wildfires in our region.

Climate change is the most significant long-term issue facing our region. We’re expecting sea level rise, coastal erosion and floods affecting homes and recreation.

We need flood protection to keep our people and community safe from our rivers breaking their banks in heavy rains. We also need to ensure that our important horticulture, viticulture and farming assets are protected from the effects of climate change.

Council therefore wants to accelerate the delivery of our Waipaoa Flood Control Climate Change Resilience project, giving greater protection our community needs against floods, safeguarding both economic development and wellbeing.

The project’s aim is to increase the level of flood protection of the Waipaoa River to cater for a 100-year heavy rain event, accounting for climate change impact (sea level rise and larger rain events) out to 2090.

The original Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme was designed in 1949 and constructed between 1953 and 1969. It's considered to be one of Council’s most valuable assets and protects some 10,000 hectares of fertile floodplain land. Construction work to improve the scheme started in February 2019 and involves upgrading approximately 64km of stopbanks along the Waipaoa River by 2030/31.

Stopbank work

As well as making the stopbanks higher, construction work will widen the stopbank profile from the current 1.5m top crest to a 4m wide top crest. Stopbank heights are being increased by about 1-2 metres in some places.

Experts have told us higher and wider stopbanks are needed to provide the full level of protection we need.

In August 2020, Council was awarded $7.5m of external funding support by the Provincial Development Unit to accelerate the delivery phase of the project. This external funding reduces the financial contribution that the community has to pay towards the project.

Planned stopbank upgrade work

Date plannedStopbank location
September 2022 – December 2022Complete flood mitigation work on Wi Pere trust land at 864 – Lavenham Rd (western side).
November 2022 – January 2023Between Whitmore and Caesar Road – 1.2km (eastern side).
January 2023All stopbanks upgraded on eastern (city) side. 25km of stopbanks successfully upgraded.
September 2022 - March 2023Between Waipaoa River mouth and Te Arai Stream (western side).
March 2023 - June 2023Te Arai Stream to just downstream of Matawhero SH2 Bridge (western side).
October 2023 onwardsProgressively upgrade the western side until complete – from Matawhero Bridge upstream.
2030/31Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme fully upgraded and operational on both sides.

Total project cost estimate - $32-35 million

Completed stopbank upgrade, raised and widened (all located on eastern side)

Date completedStopbank location
April 2022Between Whitmore Road and Kaitaratahi Hill – 3km
March 2022Between Ford and Caesar Roads – 1km
February 2022Upstream of Matawhero SH2 bridge along eastern side to Ferry Road – 4.5km
May 2021Upstream of Matawhero SH2 bridge - 3km
March 2021Railway Bridge and Matawhero SH2 Bridge - 4km
December 2020Waipaoa River Mouth and Railway Bridge – 2km
February 2020Railway Bridge near Waipaoa river mouth – 2km
December 2019Between Bruce and Ferry roads - 2km
February 2019Between Ford and Bruce roads - 2.1km