QuakeCoRE Seminar – 20 April 2018: Kaley Crawford-Flett

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March 31, 2018

10 am Friday 20 April

Kaley Crawford-Flett,

Quake Centre, University of Canterbury


Characterisation and screening of New Zealand stopbank networks: Phase 1 outputs

Stopbank networks are a critical distributed infrastructure network, providing the primary means of flood protection for people and properties in many New Zealand communities. The construction of flood protection stopbanks in New Zealand began in the late 1800s, well before the development of modern embankment engineering standards. From 1949 to 1969, more than 2,500 km of stopbanks were constructed in New Zealand.  It is presently estimated that New Zealand has in excess of 3,500 km of stopbanks, protecting more than 100 flood-prone population centres, and managed largely by regional and local government agencies as well as private land-owners.

Activities on stopbanks and floodways are generally governed by the Resource Management Act (1991) and maintenance is governed by the Local Government Act (2002). However, the enactment of stopbank management is entirely local; guided by Regional and District Plans in response to local priorities. Just as levels of flood protection vary locally, regionally, and nationally; the physical and engineering attributes of stopbank assets in New Zealand vary across the country depending on past decisions, community expectations and the risk profile of each area.  Available levels of resource and expertise vary widely among the regions, resulting in inconsistent design, assessment, and maintenance standards. Furthermore, there are presently no standardised national data sets, indicators or methodologies to assess (flood protection) risk across the country.

In order to better understand the make-up of stopbank assets in New Zealand and build toward a unified national characterisation framework, a collaborative research project was established in 2017 with support from National Science Challenge (Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (RNC)), QuakeCoRE, Quake Centre, and the Geospatial Research Institute. Industry guidance is provided to the project by a forum of Regional Council River Managers.

At the outset of this research programme, a key goal is to provide a single, reliable and spatially-referenced inventory in the form of the NZ Inventory of Stopbanks (NZIS). As at February 2018, a draft NZIS has been completed along with initial statistical and spatial analyses of the network.

This presentation will summarize progress on the national stopbank research project to date including initial national characterisation outputs along with future research needs.  Outputs to date improve our understanding of the New Zealand stopbank network and identify critical knowledge gaps that will be addressed in the next stages of the project. Future work will use methods and outputs from other RNC distributed infrastructure projects to enable broad-based consequence assessments across New Zealand’s stopbank portfolio.

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For details on our seminars – return to the 2018 Seminar Series home page link

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