Dis­trict’s haz­ard risk in spot­light

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

More re­search is needed on the po­ten­tial ef­fects of liq­ue­fac­tion, cli­mate change and se­vere wind on Mata­mata-Pi­ako dis­trict, says a new tech­ni­cal re­port pre­pared by the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s re­gional haz­ards team.

The re­port, which is avail­able on the coun­cil’s web­site, is part of an on­go­ing re­gional se­ries and is de­signed to guide and pri­ori­tise nat­u­ral haz­ard risk re­duc­tion work in the dis­trict.

In or­der of pri­or­ity, the re­port iden­ti­fies earth­quakes (with a num­ber of ac­tive fault lines and po­ten­tial for liq­ue­fac­tion), drought and river- re­lated flood­ing as the three big­gest risks faced by the dis­trict on an on­go­ing ba­sis.

It notes there is con­tin­u­ing growth in known haz­ard ar­eas.

The fact that earth­quakes pose the great­est risk is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for the dis­trict ‘‘in light of pos­si­ble fu­ture growth and the as­so­ci­ated pres­sure to in­crease devel­op­ment in known flood haz­ard ar­eas’’, the re­port said.

The re­port also said the Mata­mata-Pi­ako dis­trict is par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to flood events due to its lo­ca­tion, regular high rain­fall in the ranges and other fac­tors.

Cli­mate change could cause is­sues such as more tur­bu­lent weather and an in­crease in flood­ing, droughts and se­vere winds, it added.

The re­port rec­om­mended that the is­sues raised are pri­mar­ily ad­dressed through the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Plan.

‘‘ The sig­nif­i­cance of var­i­ous nat­u­ral haz­ards in the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict is par­tially de­pen­dant on the ap­pro­pri­ate devel­op­ment of sus­cep­ti­ble land.

It is there­fore rec­om­mended that the full range of nat­u­ral haz­ards con­tinue to be con­sid­ered when plan­ning for fu­ture growth, even those that have been iden­ti­fied as rel­a­tively in­signif­i­cant by this as­sess­ment.’’

It also rec­om­mended that more at­ten­tion and re­search is done into the po­ten­tial for earth­quakes to cause liq­ue­fac­tion (a com­mon prob­lem in Christchurch), the im­pacts of cli­mate change and po­ten­tial for se­vere winds. In the mean­time both coun­cils will con­tinue work­ing to­gether to bet­ter un­der­stand the nat­u­ral haz­ard risks fac­ing the dis­trict and to plan ahead ac­cord­ingly.

Com­ment­ing on the re­port, MatamataPiako mayor Jan Barnes said: ‘‘It is im­por­tant to iden­tify and ad­dress the nat­u­ral haz­ard risks in the dis­trict, as it al­lows us to pre­pare for the fu­ture.’’

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