Tasman District Council welcomes the $7.5m funding announced by Fletcher Tabuteau, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, to strengthen several sections of the Motueka River stopbanks.

The existing flood protection scheme was built in 1956 to protect the townships of Motueka and Riwaka, which are both built on the river’s floodplains, from frequent flooding in the lower reaches of the river.

Over the past 64 years the stopbanks have degraded in places, reducing the effectiveness of the flood protection in some areas.

The newly-announced Government investment will allow the Council to strengthen the stopbanks to back to full effectiveness and improve flood resilience for Motueka and Riwaka. The Motueka River catchment is one of the largest river systems in the Tasman District, covering an area of 2170 square kilometres. The Motueka River flows from the mountainous Red Hills Ridge and Beebys Knob area more than 100km upstream of the river mouth. Eight significant river tributaries add to the flow (such as Motupiko, Tadmor, Wangapeka, Baton, Pearse, Pokororo, Shaggery and Brooklyn), as well as many more smaller streams and creeks, culminating in a large and dynamic river. The stopbanks have effectively protected the growing communities from a number of significant flood events over the past six decades.

“The funding announced today by Mr Tabuteau will go directly towards strengthening several sites on the Motueka flood protection scheme,” said Tasman Mayor Tim King. “The programme will prioritise improvements to sections of stopbanks that provide the greatest benefit to the communities relying on them.”

“The stopbanks have proved their worth more than once since their construction. To enable development and investment decisions around the towns’ development, the stopbanks must be maintained. The funding will also provide valuable jobs to local industry involved in the realisation of the project.”

Motueka and Riwakas’ flood protection scheme is designed to ensure water levels remain well below the top of the stopbanks in events that have a 2% chance of occurring in any year, or once every 50 years. Recent investigations identified sites along the stopbanks requiring structural improvements to deliver the current level of flood protection.