Reporting back

Protection from the effects of flooding

Date: 01 July 2018
Reporting Frequency: Annually
Category: Climate Change and Community Resilience


Reduce the impact on Canterbury’s people, assets and infrastructure from the effects of flooding.


In 2017/18, we spent $14 million on flood protection.

About this goal

$11 million of this is spent on maintaining flood protection infrastructure worth $508 million to protect $130 billion worth of assets.

Why does it matter?

Many areas in Canterbury have been struck by major floods over the past 150 years. In Christchurch for example, floodwaters from the Waimakariri were sometimes knee-deep in the central city in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Our rivers team manages, monitors and maintains 59 river and drainage schemes across Canterbury with the aim of protecting people and property within those schemes from flooding.

Climate change predictions indicate that rainfall will become more intense and more frequent in the future. Ensuring the existing schemes are fit for purpose and constructing new schemes where required is necessary to minimise the impact of heavy rainfall events.

What's being done?

We manage 59 flood protection and drainage schemes throughout Canterbury. The level of service provided in each of these schemes varies but is agreed with the benefitting community through a public meeting process.

We build flood protection structures such as rock groynes, stopbanks, floodgates and anchored tree protection. Our planting work also protects wetlands which support riverbed bird nesting and enhances fisheries.

We monitor and direct the extraction of gravel from our rivers to enhance the flood carrying capacity of rivers.

We provide a comprehensive network of rainfall and river flow monitoring sites which form an important part of the flood warning system that we are responsible for.

The $40 million Waimakariri flood protection project will reduce the risk of flooding in Christchurch city and Waimakariri and Selwyn districts. It will add strength and resilience to the flood protection system already in place and significantly lower the risk of break-out during major flood events. Construction began in 2009, with a proposed completion date of 2019.

Find out more

Read all about our River and Drain management programme.

Find out how ratepayer funding supports this work with our Rates Tool.


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