FLOODING

Annual flood awareness

Thursday 15 November 2012, 3:11PM
By Queenstown Lakes District Council
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QUEENSTOWN

Staff from the Queenstown-Lakes District Council (QLDC) and Otago Regional Council (ORC) and will start their annual flood awareness campaign next week.

The campaign, part of the “Learning to Live with Flooding: Flood Risk Management Strategy”, will involve a walkabout in the ‘flood-prone zone’ of the Queenstown and Wanaka CBDs, in addition to targeting the communities of Kingston and Glenorchy.

The combined walkabout would take place from Thursday 22 November, QLDC emergency management officer Jon Mitchell said.

Owners and occupiers of flood-prone businesses and households would be visited and reminded of what information (including hazard identification) was available to them to help them prepare and respond to a potential flood, should Lake Wakatipu or Wanaka (or both) reach high levels this summer.

The relevant parts of Queenstown and Wanaka would be visited by both Councils, with Mr Mitchell then visiting Glenorchy and Kingston to deliver information in person.

ORC director environmental engineering and natural hazards Dr Gavin Palmer said the annual walkabout, which is in its third year, stemmed from the two councils’ development in 2005 of a joint flood risk management strategy for the two lakes and their communities.

Previous visits had been well received and with some good conversations about living with and preparing for natural hazards.

“It’s an opportunity for us to update our contact databases, promote the ability of property owners and businesses to self-monitor lake levels through the Otago Regional Council website, and to remind businesses to clean out grease traps, dust off their flood plans and be ready to respond proactively when floods threaten,” Mr Mitchell said.

Dr Palmer said the annual reminder, during November was timed to coincide with the potential flood season. The 1999 flood was the most severe and second-most severe ever experienced by the Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka communities respectively, and it was important that awareness continued.

“We want to help the communities to be ready to manage the exposure to flood risk rather than try and avoid or limit these risks through engineered alteration of the physical environment,” Dr Palmer said.

The walkabout formed part of both councils’ strategic response to those events and to help lessen the impacts of flooding on people and property, Dr Palmer said.