Wednesday, 12 August 2020


TCDC part of Auditor-General report on stormwater management

A report by the Auditor-General, “Managing Stormwater Systems to Reduce the Risk of Flooding,” was presented to Parliament on Thursday last week.

In order to prepare the report, the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) looked at how Dunedin City Council, Porirua City Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council manage their stormwater systems. The OAG chose these three councils to understand the range of challenges local councils across New Zealand face in protecting people and their property from the effects of flooding.

The report found that the three councils have an incomplete understanding of the flood risks in their district or city. This leaves their communities vulnerable to being caught unaware by unanticipated floods. Gaps in their knowledge about their stormwater systems limits the three councils’ ability to make well-informed and deliberate decisions and have informed conversations with their communities about the costs and reducing the risks of flooding.

The report made the following five recommendations, which local councils across New Zealand are urged to address -

  • Do councils understand the current and likely future flood risks in their district or city sufficiently to take a proactive approach to reduce the risks and effects of flooding?
  • Do councils provide elected members with the necessary information and options, including about local flood risks and their stormwater systems, to make well-informed and deliberate decisions about investment in their stormwater systems?
  • Do councils improve the information they make available to their communities so that people can understand -
    • The potential risk of flooding?
    • What the council is doing to manage that risk, including how it is managing the stormwater system in their district or city and at what cost?
    • What the remaining risk is to the community?
  • Do councils improve their understanding of their stormwater systems, which will entail ensuring the adequacy of their stormwater asset data, including condition data and information on the performance and capacity of the stormwater systems?
  • Do councils identify and use opportunities to work together with relevant organisations to more effectively manage their stormwater systems?

TCDC was requested by the OAG to participate in the report and provided documentation (including asset management plans) to the OAG. TCDC staff were also interviewed and councillors and community board members were invited to complete a survey.

In response to the report, TCDC has indicated that they -

  • Are planning further modelling to identify the flood risks and the capacity of the stormwater systems of the main towns on the Coromandel.
  • Have improved their asset management practices, including the introduction of new asset management software and the implementation of a council-wide asset management policy.
  • Have increased their planned capital spending by 72 per cent (compared to 131 per cent by Porirua City Council and 31 per cent by Dunedin City Council), primarily to renew stormwater infrastructure and to improve levels of service.
  • Has created a new team to manage the delivery of capital projects.

TCDC mayor, Sandra Goudie, says the report makes it clear that the Auditor-General understands that TCDC is making improvements in the way stormwater is managed on the Coromandel. “We need to keep in mind that no local council in New Zealand can cope with extreme weather events,” she says. “I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction with regard to not only our attempts to manage our stormwater systems better, but also with regard to investment in our infrastructure in general and also our attempts to manage coastal erosion as effectively as possible.


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