Climate-change research halts stopbank plan

Last updated 05:00 11/08/2014

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Flood protection for Lower Hutt's city centre has been delayed to factor climate change into a new stopbank's design.

The flood management project has involved higher stopbanks and robust defences being built along much of the Hutt River, protecting against a one-in-440-year flood. The Greater Wellington Regional Council plus the Upper Hutt and Hutt City councils hoped to complete the Hutt Valley's defences by 2020.

Designs for the next section of stopbank, between Melling and Ewen bridges, were to be released in the middle of this year but will be delayed until at least the end of the year.

Regional manager of flood protection Graeme Campbell said climate change research predicted higher rainfall and more frequent major floods, so the flood management subcommittee was investigating designs for stopbanks that could withstand the increased pressures.

It was unclear whether commercial property would be affected in Daly St, or residential properties across the river in Pharazyn and Marsden streets. "It is not known what, if any, property purchases will be necessary," Campbell said.

Climate change had not been a consideration in the 2001-era flood planning, committee chairwoman and regional councillor Prue Lamason, said.

"When that plan was finalised, climate change was a ‘what if'.

"Now it's a fact."

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- The Dominion Post

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