Project Overview

What is the Priority Rivers Flood Risk Reduction Project?

This project involves the 26 river catchments around Northland identified as priorities for flood risk planning. (Originally there were 27 catchments – two of these catchments have since been merged into one.)

The rivers and streams in these priority catchments pose potential threats to lives, buildings, road access, infrastructure and agriculture. Our role is to work with communities and help reduce these risks where practical.

What does the project involve?

We need to better understand the river systems involved, including how flooding affects them physically and also their impacts on local communities.

To do this we have:

  • Worked with affected communities to prioritise and develop plans to reduce flood risks
  • Undertaken detailed surveys of the land in catchments to help develop computer flood models
  • Produced flood hazard maps (these show which areas are likely to flood and what could be threatened as a result, for instance schools, marae etc)
  • Assessed the likely consequences for a community if it is flooded and analysed options to reduce any resulting danger/threats
  • Produced river management reports and flood risk reduction plans that collate the information on flood risk and management.

Which rivers are included?

The 26 priority rivers or groups of streams being assessed are (in alphabetical, not priority order):
Note that there were originally 27 priority catchments identified, but the Waima and Punakitere catchments are now being treated as one catchment.

  • Awanui
  • Awapokonui (Pakanae)
  • Awaroa-Rotokakahi and Pawarenga Streams
  • Hātea
  • Helena Bay River
  • Kaeo
  • Kaihū
  • Kerikeri-Waipapa
  • Matangirau
  • Ngunguru
  • Otaika
  • Panguru / Waihou
  • Pupuke
  • Ruakaka
  • Taumarere (Kawakawa)
  • Taupō River
  • Tauranga River
  • Waiarohia-Raumanga
  • Waihou (Rahiri-Rangiahua)
  • Waima & Punakitere-Otaua
  • Waimamaku
  • Wairau (Maungaturoto)
  • Waitangi
  • Whangārei Heads Streams
  • Whangaroa Streams (Totara North, Te Ngaere, Wainui & Mahineapua)
  • Whirinaki


Location map of Priority Rivers.Location map of Priority Rivers.

How long will the project take?

River management reports and river management plans have now been completed. The project is ongoing and our focus has now moved towards implementation of river management plans, including the further investigation, refinement, design and implementation of actions to reduce flood risk.

As of October 2013, 24 of the 26 catchments identified have had flood maps generated, which are now publicly available. The highest risk catchments amongst this group have been identified for progressing flood scheme works. These include: Waiarohia-Raumanaga catchment, Kerikeri-Waipapa, Kaeo and Awanui (Kaitāia)

The development and/or implementation of the actions identified in the plans will be undertaken on a priority basis.

How will the community be involved?

Initially, we worked with affected communities and stakeholders to build on what we already know about the size of floods and who they affect. We asked the community to tell us about the places/things they were especially keen to protect in their local area. We also presented the initial river management reports, flood maps and river management plans to communities through a series of meetings held in the areas of interest.

In addition to this we also work closely with River Management Liaison Committees in a smaller number of catchments that help the council to plan and prioritise actions to reduce flood risk. These committees include Awanui, Kerikeri-Waipapa, Urban Whangārei, Kaihu, Kaeo-Whangaroa, Waitangi and Ruakaka. These are sub-committees of council's Environmental Management Committee.

If flood protection work is needed, who’ll pay?

Typically local communities – who stand to benefit the most – will pay for flood protection works, but only after consultation.  

Contact us

For more information, please contact:

Bruce Howse
Group Manager, Environmental Services
Northland Regional Council
Ph: 0800 002 004