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Published: 2003-03-27 00:00:00

Environment Waikato will be working with the Coromandel community this year on its flooding problems to agree what needs to be done to lessen the risk to people and property.

The Council’s Draft Annual Plan includes plans for community consultation and work in the area to lessen the Peninsula’s vulnerability to storms and flooding.

A number of recent river and stream management problems have highlighted the flooding risk in the area, especially along the Thames coast. Events such as last June’s “weather bomb” have heightened public concerns after flooding in dozens of streams caused a death and widespread property damage.

Frequent storms hit the area, with potential loss of life, social disruption, economic cost and infrastructural damage. The Peninsula has dozens of rivers and hundreds of streams in steep, short catchments. It also has weak volcanic soils and experiences high rainfall.

Environment Waikato has been co-operating with Thames Coromandel District Council on work proposed for the coming year.

“The Regional Council has already been working on identifying flood hazards, considering options, and improving Civil Defence response, flood warning systems and clearance works,” Thames Coromandel Councillor Evan Penny says.

“The work so far has been extensive and costly, with inadequate provision in current budgets to support it. The risk to communities in the area remains high, but there’s not enough money for river and catchment management advice and assistance. The communities and the District Council are looking for more support and the demand for information and advice is high.

The Draft Annual Plan proposed a development programme this coming financial year to give the community time to understand the need for increased river and catchment management to reduce the risk to life and property, he said.

While the plans for this year are covered by the general rate and deficit funding, a special flood scheme rate may be needed to cover extra costs for the area, which was also likely to include a special pest management rate for the upper catchment.

The proposed development programme includes technical support and hazard analysis, river and catchment management and community liaison support for Thames Coromandel District Council to help communities find solutions for the area’s flood hazards.