Skip to content

Wellington Region Flood Warning Service Review

Wellington Region Flood Warning Service Review

Updated 10 January 2020 3:10pm


New Zealand has a history of destructive floods that can be costly. Between 1968 and 2017, the country experienced more than 80 damaging floods.

Regional and District councils are responsible for managing flood hazards. They monitor rainfall, river flows, lake levels, build, upgrade and maintain flood protection works.

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GW) has formed a project team with members drawn from its Flood Protection, Environmental Science, Marketing and Communications Teams, and the Operational Readiness Team of Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) to review the region’s Flood Warning System. The project, which is part of our Long-term Plan, is aimed at significantly improving flood warning systems in Wairarapa, Kapiti and Wellington by 2025.

Waiwhetu Floods, 2004

Towards a safer future

Over time, flood warning system has emerged as a tool to manage flood risk. Implementing a flood warning system, which is 100% effective, can be a challenge. We are using this opportunity to provide a safer future for you and the future generations living in the region’s floodplains. Our plan is to put in place a collaborative and efficient flood warning service for you.  

We plan to use pilots to develop and test systems, communications and messages, using the approaches recommended in the review. Progress will be reviewed after five years and following which, we will design and plan further improvements.

We had engaged GNS Science as an independent, external party with the necessary expertise and knowledge to carry out technical review of the flood warnings systems and assist us with our stakeholder engagement. Following the review, several work streams were identified. 

Way forward

In addition to reviewing our existing flood warning systems, we will be developing and trialling a new system in identified areas of risk. We will be drawing on existing community resilience work that enables communities to be prepared for emergencies.

For example, Mangaroa River, Pinehaven and Waitwhetu Streams all have existing Community Response Plans developed by key leaders from your community. We will be using these plans as a starting point and develop the tools and systems. The aim is to offer better customised service by way of impact-based warnings to help you to make better decisions.