Urban stormwater is often referred to as the “poor cousin” of the three waters, with limited funding available compared to water and wastewater. The exception to this seems to be in the years immediately following local flood events, when funding becomes available for stormwater and flood mitigation works, often for a limited period of time. This trend appears to have persisted for generations, despite changes to legislation requiring local government to have long term plans in place with a 10 year minimum planning horizon.
Tools available for understanding flood risk, and exploring mitigation performance and cost, should enable a more structured long term planning approach, although costs can be high both for studies and for works, and potentially unpalatable politically except when public consciousness of flood risk is high.
This paper will explore the relationship between flood events and funding of stormwater and flood mitigation works around New Zealand, using case studies and data from a few local authorities around the country. It will also explore alternative approaches to planning, programming and funding of these works, and how these fit with current regulatory requirements.